SHREW - Q&A with Director Abigail Pickard Price

Abigail Pickard Price studied Drama at Exeter and trained at LAMDA. Work includes venues such as The Watermill Theatre, Old Vic, National Theatre The Hope Theatre and The King's Head Theatre. Abigail is back in Edinburgh this year directing Ami Jones' Shakespeare-inspired monologue, SHREW. After a triumphant run at Buxton where Ami won the Best Actress Award, I caught up with Abigail on Monday night. I asked her what it means to be a woman director in London in 2014.

Q&A with Director Abigail Pickard Price

1. Why Shrew?
There is a line in the script "a stillness and silence that washes over you" it was on reading this line that I knew SHREW was for me. SHREW is not just an exploration of one of Shakespeare's most loved characters, it asks it's audience where they are in their lives and how did they get there? No matter your age there are moments when you have asked yourself these very questions, sat there and let the silence wash over you unknowing of your future. As one review said it makes us question our modern sensibilities, there are not many solo pieces that can have such an impact and take us on such a journey of discovery with a character at the same time.

2. Why Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is the perfect place to try out new writing as the audiences are willing and open to new pieces. However, they can also be the harshest of critics. When people are watching five shows a day if they aren't gripped within the first couple of minutes of your show you have lost them and that is a real test, it makes you work extremely hard. As emerging artists it is also an excellent platform for both us as individuals and for SHREW which we hope will have a future life after the fringe.

3. Shakespeare or Rebecca Lenkowicz?

4. Taming of the Shrew or Romeo and Juliet?
That feels like a trick question!

5. Why?
Because I should really say Taming of the Shrew after all this is an article about Shrew. However Romeo and Juliet is very dear to my heart as it was the first Shakespeare I read and understood as a teenager. It allowed me to fall in love with Shakespeare.

6. What are the advantages of being a woman director?
If I am honest I have never considered the difference between being a woman and a man in directing. I was brought up in a female dominated environment and so have, perhaps naively, never hugely considered the difference between a woman doing a job and a man. I suppose the advantage that springs to mind is something that has been prevalent within SHREW in particular: the connection with, and the need for empathy from, the audience. This is perhaps something that a woman might find more easily in piece like SHREW, but I fear that is a huge generalisation.

7. One memorable Director’s moment to be shared with Female Arts only.
The absolute joy Ami and I felt when we read the first review for SHREW. Up until that moment we had no idea how the piece would be received, to know it hit home with the audience was a wonderful moment.

8. Your new project, Anna Weiss, in three sentences.
ANNA WEISS explores the power that we can hold over each other. It explores the concept of false memory syndrome, how can we ever really know what the realities of our past are, particularly our earliest of memories. The rehearsal process has thrown up so many questions, ones that I hope the audience will leave asking themselves.

9. Your biggest achievement to date.
What a question! I suppose the thing that I am most proud of thus far in my career is getting my first production, a site specific performance of Mick Gordon's On Love, up and running. I both produced and directed it with a very fast turnaround.

(c) Effie Samara 2014

Shrew, passionately written and delivered by Ami Jones and brilliantly directed by Abigail Pickard Price is playing at C – Cubed from 31 July – 25 Aug at 8.30pm

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