‘Guy’ is desperate to clear his conscience before he gets married to his beautiful bride to be. But as he sets off on his psychological and physical journey across America, to make amends with four old flames, the question is: is there something – or someone – he’s missing?
Neil LaBute began his playwriting career as a theatre student at Brigham Young University, an institution founded and supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he joined whilst in attendance. Known for creating works that exhibit the unsettling, and often cruel, extremes of human relationships, LaBute’s provocative writing often pushed the boundaries of his conservative community to the breaking point.
Although he no longer practices the Mormon faith, his background makes for a fascinating perspective on gendered power structures within heterosexual relationships. Originally produced in 2005 starring David Schwimmer and adapted for the screen in 2015 starring Adam Brody and Kristen Bell, Some Girl(s) explores commitment, guilt and shame in an attempt to resettle that imbalance of power between the sexes. Buckland Theatre Company’s revival of Some Girl(s) opens at Park Theatre next month, and it will be interesting to see how these themes and issues are dealt with in a society that has since its original production seen a resurgence in feminism and a thirst for gender equality. Elly Condron (pictured left), who will be playing the role of Sam, answers a few questions about the play’s development thus far…
Neil LaBute’s plays often pit men and women against each other and deal with controversial power plays – how does this manifest in Some Girl(s)?
I think with Some Girl(s), LaBute was trying to refute the claim that his plays can sometimes be sexist or, worst case, misogynistic. I say this because on a basic level, the play gives a voice to four women who have been wronged by the male character. None of his past behaviour is atrocious (by that I mean violent or psychotic), it’s just the everyday shitty behaviour that we have all been exposed to in one way or another in our lives. However, I think what he is trying to show is how this seemingly acceptable behaviour can really damage other people and yet is often easily excused by the perpetrator. In Some Girl(s), the women have the chance, thanks to a bumbling and often inarticulate man, to air their grievances in various different ways,. It is a fun, cathartic way to approach the question of how we treat each other.
What type of audiences do you feel will connect the most to this play?
The play concerns relationships (in this case romantic, but a lot of what is revealed could easily be transferred onto platonic relationships too), so most people will be able to connect. I think audiences who are up for being entertained, but with a dose of truths we can all recognise – either things we have done to people, or had done to us. It will hopefully make people laugh and maybe think twice about how they go about a break up if and when they have to!
Which moments within the play have posed particular challenges to you as an actor?
It has been tough to revisit past relationships – their strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and failures. That can be very challenging – especially difficult is making sure that you leave it in the rehearsal and don’t bring it home to your real life!
Which actors would you like to see take on your roles?
Isn’t the answer always Meryl Streep?!
If audiences take only one thing away from the performance, what would you want that to be?
A knowing smile and a grimace of recognition! And, of course, a recommendation to their friends to come and see it…
Some Girl(s) by Neil LaBute
Directed by Gary Condes
Buckland Theatre Company
Opens at Park Theatre on 14th July 2016, running until 6 August 2016
Tickets available from the Park Theatre box office, online or by phone: 02078706876
Photos and quotes taken from the Park Theatre website
Cover photo © Darren Bell
[Thank you to Theatre Bloggers for giving me this opportunity – www.theatrebloggers.co.uk]