A call to the end of a scene, a snip at the barber’s, slicing of a cake or detailed incisions that result in a row of paper men. The list goes on with what the title of this one-woman show could mean. With playwright Duncan Graham’s words and Anita Hegh’s acting chops, director Sarah John explains the mystery behind the fantastical psychological thriller, Cut.
Why the title Cut? The title Cut is a reference to Atropos the third and most fearsome of the three Fates who was responsible for cutting an individual’s ‘thread of life’. The central character in Cut finds a kinship with Atropos as she attempts to wrestle down and take control of her own fate.
Would it be correct to call this play a one-woman psychological thriller? In one respect, yes. It’s a kind of mindscape made up of a series of reflections and refractions of a woman attempting to hunt down her true self and a mysterious thread of impulses and instincts that she is experiencing.
Could a man play this role? If he could fit into an airhostess outfit maybe… But I’m quite happy with Anita!
You’ve worked with Duncan before. What about him impressed you? What is it like working with him? Duncan and I studied together and have since collaborated together on a number of occasions. He’s an excellent writer and is extremely open to work with, encouraging intense interrogation of his texts. Actors and other collaborators are often surprised at his lack of preciousness and willingness to try suggested changes and cuts.
How are rehearsals going? Have there been any surprises? Rehearsals are on track. I get quite nervous talking about it at this stage in case I ‘jinx’ things but we’re working really hard and we all feel quite excited as to how it’s taking shape. I am constantly surprised by Anita Hegh. She is an incredible actor who makes the most courageous choices and finds the most beautiful nuances, so that a text that I have read countless times still feels alive and surprising.
You were trained as an actor but work primarily as a director. Why? I enjoy (and crave) the challenge and thrill of making theatre. As an actor, I found that I often felt frustrated by the lack of creative involvement I had in projects and ended up with little investment and belief in them. As a director, I was more easily able to instigate projects that excited me.
Incidentally, my first real (but unofficial) teacher in directing was Peter Evans who I worked as assistant director to on a production called Yellow Wallpaper – a one-woman show staring Anita Hegh.
What about theatre never fails to excite you? Someone once told me a story about the Stradivarius violin. Apparently, they are so finely tuned that if you place two of them in opposite corners of a room and pluck a note on one of them, the other violin will ‘hum’ in tune. This is a wonderful analogy for the experience of theatre. I never tire of attempting to tune each moment after moment in the hope that a good hum might be created between the work and the audience.
Why should people see Cut? It’s an awesome new piece of writing. It stars one of the finest actors around. It’s a very dark, strange little piece in the spirit of David Lynch. It’s only 50 minutes and you never know, it could be quite good.
Apr 7 – May 1, Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills, $32-$42, 9699 3444, belvoir.com.au