Preview: Bunny

Image credit: Laura Cameron

A female one-hander set beyond the usual Cambridge theatrical haunts, ‘Bunny’ look set to be an intense, enthralling evening of theatre, exploring the psyche of a girl on the brink of womanhood.

Speaking to the crew gave me a sense of the intimacy of the production, which associate director Becca Bradburn says enables a more organic creative development, as with only one actor and a small team, they are able to consider the perspectives of all involved and take a dialectical approach to the show that is mediated through reflection, discussion and experience. This seems especially apt for a play that demands to be treated intimately through its style and content - a monologue delivered by a young woman, Katie, reaching a pivotal point of her life. Though the action of the play ostensibly takes place over the course of one afternoon, director Carina Harford points out that it is fairly immaterial and that ‘Bunny’ derives its strength from its subjectivity, which means that though other events are taking place, Katie’s story is “the only one we see”. Furthermore, Katie's attempts at self-justification and explanation highlight her awareness of her subjective and reinforce its preeminence.

To reiterate this subjectivity, assistant director Eliza Bacon explains, the production has been conceived as an incorporated whole with everything from the elaborately designed lighting and set down to how the tickets will look carefully considered to reflect and magnify the idiosyncrasies of Katie’s personality so the audience can quite literally “occupy” her headspace. The play is hinged on subjectivity and a certain emotional realism, paradoxically created by eschewing certain tenets of naturalistic theatre, seems necessary to fully bring out Katie’s idiosyncrasies. Several members of the crew are keen to point out, however, that these idiosyncrasies are not always endearing, with Carina likening Katie to a younger Fleabag. However, this comparison by no means reduces Katie to a member of that rare breed, the “unlikeable female character”, whose presence is lauded as an emancipation from sexist, often decorous expectations of how women should act, but rather highlights that she is, like most of us, a flawed individual attempting to navigate her way, often in a questionable manner, through life. Indeed, Carina stresses that the play in no way endorses Katie, rather merely presents her as she is at a certain stage of her life.                                                                                                                      

This stage appears to be one familiar to everyone who has ever been adolescent; a muddled, nascent stage, where one is still a patchwork of influences. Katie’s attempts at self-definition by testing her own boundaries, told with brutal honesty, can make for incredibly uncomfortable reading, Carina tells me, but provoke conversations about issues of consent and sexuality. The crew tells me that these were integral the play’s development as they touched upon themes of female adolescence, which is reflected in our conversation which meanders between discussions of the play and much broader topics including female shaving, normative beauty standards and consent and sheds light on the intertwined, reciprocal relationship between two. As Grainne Dromgoole, who is playing Katie, points out, the play was written before the language of consent we take for granted had evolved and describes how this can lead to a brutal, often graphic, honesty of a character attempting to grapple with new, incomprehensible and violating experiences.

The intensity of the play and its “snapshot” like nature are enhanced by its single night run, so to experience the compelling, contradictory world of Katie, head to The Portland Arms this Thursday.

Content Warning: sensitive language of a sexual and racial nature

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest