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Interview with the star of ‘My Brilliant Divorce’!

Posted: Friday 31 March, 2017

From 4th-8th April, as part of the 2017 Bath Comedy Festival, Next Stage's Kay Francksen will be returning to The Mission Theatre with her spectacular one woman show: My Brilliant Divorce by Geraldine Aron.
On Sunday 19th March, Friends of Next Stage were treated to a hilarious extract from the show, followed by a Q&A with Kay and Ann Ellison (Director). Read on for some insights from Kay:

This will be the third time you have played Angela. Have you noticed any changes in the way you perceive her? Is there anything extra that you’re bringing to the role?
Kay: Well the script is the same but I’m different! Time has gone on! When I played Angela the first time I was not long divorced myself and when you’re in that place it’s a bit grim and you can’t quite see through to the end. However, now I can look back and I can really see Angela's journey much more clearly because I can relate to it myself. Now I see a more hopeful side of the whole process, than I did when I first performed this play. Ten years ago I thought perhaps Angela was being overly hopeful in seeking love a second time around but now ... well I can’t give away the ending!

What do you most enjoy about performing My Brilliant Divorce?
Kay: Oh well that’s quite easy really because I love doing all the different voices and different characters. People have said “It must be really lonely up there on your own”, but it's actually not, because all those people are there with me. One night Ann (Director) told me I’d missed a bit and it was simply because when I usually turn to ‘see’ my daughter, Vanessa, I had turned a slightly different way to normal which meant I didn’t 'see' her so I didn’t say the relevant lines. It sounds bonkers, doesn’t it, but that’s exactly how your mind works!

What is the relevance of this production to audiences today?
Kay: Well I think it is very current as, sadly, divorce is quite common. People, I think, will bring their own experiences to it. We’ve been in some communication with the writer [Geraldine Aron] and I’d love to know if she wrote it from her own experience.
Ann: Geraldine Aron has been very supportive each time we’ve put this on and she’s writing a piece for the programme for this next show. My take on it is that it isn’t just about a woman going through a divorce, it’s about how everyone, male or female, copes with the setbacks in life. Angela tackles most of her setbacks with a keen sense of humour.
Kay: Yes, there are poignant moments too which I think people can relate to. However, the play overall is very upbeat and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

How have you found putting on a one woman show? Is it a very different process to a group production?
Kay: Well, there’s not much of a cast party at the end! In the dressing room when it's just you it can be a little bit lonely at times but on the other hand you are able to concentrate much more than when you’re having that bit of banter!
Ann: It’s a very different rehearsal process as well with us finding the absolute maximum time we can do is 2 hours because it’s...
Kay: Exhausting! I can’t stand back whilst someone else does their bit so it’s quite hard work.

Do you see it as a feminist play or do you think it can appeal to men as well?
Kay: No I don’t see it as a feminist play, I see it as a "people" play. I think a man could go through the same experience, maybe with different scenes, and hopefully come out of it happily. It’s about human spirit and humour. A lot of us get through the most awful things just by laughing.
Ann: When performing it before we had very favourable feedback from the men in the audience!

Out of the 135 performances included in Bath Comedy Festival, why should people come to see My Brilliant Divorce?
Kay: Well I don’t think there are any other performances in the Festival that use a full length play to explore the themes of desertion & divorce so delightfully! It’s a great story.
Ann: It’s good drama as well and well acted!
Kay: And it’s funny.
Ann: Yes, without it being stand up.
Kay: It’s that sort of tradition - which used to be more of a female tradition although I think men are doing it a little bit more now - where it's telling a story in the comedy rather than just throwing jokes out all over the place. It’s thought-provoking but hopefully you can have a laugh and then leave the theatre thinking about what you have seen.

Click here for rehearsal images
Tickets available online from The Mission Theatre or by contacting 01225 428600 or (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
We hope to see you there!

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