"Innocence and playfulness"
In our second actor profile we sit down with Hannah Marsters to talk about her approach to the play, and exploring the light in Ridley's world as well as the darkness.
Who are you?
Hannah, 4th year Classics student at Wadham
Who is your character and what are they like?
I play the Woman in Tender Napalm. The Woman is fragile and deeply troubled but is definitely able to hold her own against the thrashing masculinity of the Man. We’ve talked a lot about how she deals with trauma, and for me that’s become a fundamental basis for understanding her. While the Man punches pain in the face, she retreats into herself and shuts herself off from feeling. Unlike James’ character, there is less of an attempt from her at replacing her pain with another kind of intense feeling that comes from an escape into supernatural fantasy worlds. Above all though, she is so wonderfully real. Philip Ridley is a master at creating characters who we quickly learn to love, even though they are deeply flawed and we see them do horrible things to themselves and others. My character is no exception.
How has the rehearsal process been?
Intense but so rewarding. It’s been a challenge, especially since this is the first two-hander I’ve ever been involved in, but one that I’ve really enjoyed tackling. I’ve learnt an incredible amount during this process; not only about my character and the world of the play, but also about myself as both actor and human being (sorry for the cliché). It’s been tough at times, physically and emotionally, but I’ve taken so much from the experience in return. I am genuinely so grateful for having been able to work with such an inspiring and dedicated group of people and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved.
What's your favourite moment in the play?
With it being a Philip Ridley play, I’m sure that a lot of the audience will walk into the Pilch with pretty firm expectations. They’ll probably be preparing themselves for something dark, disturbing and upsetting. Of course, the play is full of content that is just that, but my favourite moments are when the characters are having fun and just being silly; running around the stage together like children, completely absorbed in each other’s fantasy worlds. It’s these touching moments of innocence and playfulness between the two characters that, for me, are the most moving, these moments that make the audience fall in love with them.
Why should people come and see it?
It is a hard watch at times. The play deals with a lot of ‘uncomfortable’ themes. I really think, however, that we are presenting something that matters. The play is so devastatingly honest in its depiction of love, passion and pain, all struggling against each other within two people who could be any one of us. I’m confident that we’ve done justice to the genius of Ridley’s words and have used them to produce something of value. I should probably also point out that it’s actually really funny at times and you get to watch me pretend to be a giant sea serpent for an extended period of time… what more could you want?
Opening Weds 6th week 7:30pm