Published on April 26th, 2017 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Lindsay Curl
The talented Lindsay Curl takes the lead in the dramatic one-woman show, The Shape of a Girl, authored by Victoria playwright Joan MacLeod and inspired by the murder of Reena Virk.
The Shape of a Girl is now on at Pacific Theatre, so don’t miss it! We spoke to Lindsay Curl to find out more about this gripping look at the effects of bullying through the eyes of a bystander.
Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and your role in The Shape of a Girl?
My name is Lindsay Curl and I am currently a Pacific Theatre apprentice! I am a graduate of the UVic Acting Specialization program. Past credits include Corleone: The Shakespearean Godfather (Classic Chic), The Most Massive Woman Wins (Stone’s Throw), Pet the Fish and Other Impossible Tales (Chemainus Theatre Festival), The Government Inspector (United Players), and The Daughter of Turpentine (Hairpin Curves, Victoria Fringe Festival).
I came across this play six years ago during my first year of studies at UVic. Playwright Joan MacLeod is a professor in the writing department and UVic and monologues from The Shape of a Girl were often performed by women in the theatre department! After first reading this play I found it to be incredibly powerful. Living in Victoria for four years, this story always felt very close to home for me. It is a reminder that the consequences of bullying are an immediate reality.
I have the privilege of playing 15-year-old Braidie. She is intelligent, witty, sometimes sarcastic and snarky. While watching TV, Braidie sees a group of girls facing trial for assault and murder. She then comprehends that her friend group is not all that different. She recounts the bullying she has seen within her own friend group, from childhood through to adolescence, to her absent brother Trevor. She is a bystander who reacts as many people do – looks down and says nothing.
“I think this show will be an eye-opening experience.”
What can audiences expect from this show?
I think this show will be an eye-opening experience. I worry that when people think about young girls bullying each other, they think of cattiness or gossip. Perhaps like we see in popular comedic movies like Mean Girls. Reena’s tragic murder is a reminder of the scary progression of bullying and the malicious violence girls are capable of. I hope this show is a reminder of the long-lasting harm that bullying can cause.
Furthermore, I hope audience members will consider the power of the by-stander effect and how doing nothing can contribute to the circle of violence. Many young people stood around and watched Reena Virk be beaten. Her body was not found until 8 days after she was killed. By the time her body was found, hundreds of teens knew about the incident, but did not come forward to a parent, teacher, or police. Joan MacLeod poses the question, “Why are humans so willing to sit back as the unthinkable unfolds?”
What was the biggest challenge for you in preparing for this role and how did you overcome it?
When I first discovered The Shape of a Girl six years ago, I always read it as a whole. It was one of my favourite plays to sit down and read. When taking on the character of Braidie, it became important to break down the text and isolate each paragraph. I needed to navigate my way through the text in order to understand Braidie’s intentions, struggles, objectives within each moment. This was an eye-opening process. It did take patience and was certainly very time consuming, although worth every minute! It was like trying to put together a very challenging puzzle. It was also heartbreaking at times. I began to really identify with Braidie and I grew an immense amount of sympathy and heartache for her struggles and the cruelty she has seen, but felt she could not act on. Also, the information about Reena’s death that Braidie talks about in the play is incredibly heart-wrenching but important to hear.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received in your career?
One of my directors and good friends at UVic, Peter McGuire, taught me to really live in the moment and relish each acting opportunity that I am blessed enough to receive!
What books and authors have been influential to you in your creative journey so far?
I love practicing the Meisner technique – which is an approach to acting developed by Sanford Meisner. I studied at the Neighbourhood Playhouse, home of the Meisner technique, for six weeks in New York City! One of my favourite books is Sanford Meisner on Acting written by Sanford Meisner himself!
What other projects are you working on right now?
Right now this project is taking up every bit of time I have! After this show I will be tackling Ophelia in Hamlet (Stone’s Throw), and then a group of UVic alumni are getting together to remount a production of Lion in the Streets that we performed during our final year of studies – I will be playing Isobel!
Where can people find out more about you and The Shape of a Girl?
Check out our Facebook page: Stone’s Throw Productions
You can also find more about the show online at pacifictheatre.org
Thanks to Lindsay Curl for speaking with us!
You can see The Shape of a Girl at Pacific Theatre until April 29th, 2017. Visit PacificTheatre.org for ticket information.