B.G. Who do you play in Educating Rita and what are your thoughts on the character?
L.R. I play ‘Rita’, though I should say Mrs Susan White. I have absolutely loved the opportunity to get to know this determined, passionate and courageous young woman. I am completely inspired by the way that suffering and difficulty drive her to action rather than retreat and I am deeply moved by her pursuit of herself in truth and ’the things that matter’. Her desire to empower herself to step beyond the mundane, material and every day is something I identify with very closely.
B.G. What are your thoughts about the play itself?
L.R. Willy Russell is an artist I have always admired for his ability to strike very deep and very relevant chords, while still producing work that is entertaining, warm and leaves an audience feeling light rather than overwhelmed. Educating Rita embodies these things amazingly, and the sharp wit, brilliantly interesting characters, and consistently relevant story are just some of the reasons audiences will love it.
B.G. What are your thoughts on Nathan Quadrio as a first-time director?
L.R. Having already been exposed to Nathan’s keen eye for theatre through his reviewing*, and the great opportunities I’ve had to work with him, I was unsurprised to find that he has a great talent for finding key moments within the text and bringing those things to life through his amazing attention to detail on the stage. It has been a delight to see him bring his vision to the table and work to ensure that the final product accords with it, while still maintaining a collaborative spirit and open ear to the thoughts and work of the actors under his command. I look forward to seeing what else he has up his sleeve!
B.G. Why should people see this production?
L.R. As I mentioned before, Willy Russell’s impressive script is not to be missed – there are moments that will have audiences laughing out loud, and those that will hit them right in the chest. It’s a thoroughly human, incredibly relatable story with beautiful reflections on issues that touch us all. Further, it is so exciting to see new endeavours in the arts in our state, especially as funding and support for it are dwindling. So, supporting our local companies and young directors is absolutely pivotal to maintaining our rich theatrical heritage. Please don’t miss it!
Since the putting up of this article, we need to announce that the entire season of the production is COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!
Interview by Brian Godfrey
*Nathan Quadrio is an Arts Reviewer for Glam Adelaide