Published on July 19th, 2017 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Bronwyn Carradine
Starting July 20th, Resonance Theatre Collective presents Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson at Pacific Theatre.
Isobel, a lost and frightened nine-year-old Portuguese girl, wanders around her neighborhood observing graphic glimpses into the desperate and unsettled lives of the strangers in her community. The recipient of the Chalmers Outstanding New Play Award in 1991, it sheds light on difficult topics without any sugar-coating, justification, or shame, bringing awareness to problems still hidden in our society from people of different age and wealth demographics.
Studio 58 graduate Bronwyn Carradine – the recipient of the Ken & Anne Watts Memorial Scholarship and the Earl Klein Memorial Scholarship – is the director of this incarnation of Lion in the Streets. Priding herself on telling stories that will resonate with Canadian audiences and push the boundaries of human emotions, she believes in “sharing the un-shareable”. We spoke to Bronwyn Carradine ahead of the show’s opening.
Can you start by telling us about you and your involvement with Lion in the Streets?
Of course. My name is Bronwyn Carradine. I am an emerging director and playwright in Vancouver. I’ve been working across Canada for over a decade doing many different aspects of theatre, and landed here 4 years ago when I came to train at Studio 58. I am the director of Resonance Theatre Collective’s Lion In The Streets.
What drew you to be a part of this production?
It’s funny actually, one of the producers [Logan Mitev] and I trained at Stratford when we were younger, but hadn’t really been in touch for the past couple of years, so when Resonance was looking for a director, my name was mentioned and we had a ‘hey I know you’ moment. After that everything just fell into place. It’s really great to be able to reconnect as adults and bring his world, mostly people from Victoria, and my world, mostly people from Vancouver together to create this show. I’ve been a fan of ‘Lion’ for a really long time, and I am so honoured to get to do it with such a great cast and crew.
Can you share some of your creative process in preparing – from the initial planning all the way to opening night?
Most of my process revolves around the script. Reading it and re-reading it and getting to know every character’s motivation and their ins and outs. For this show it was very important to me to find a through line for all of the stories. If I don’t understand why a character is important how will the audience?
This show has been done many different ways, and the script is very open for interpretation. But, when I read the script I see regular people dealing with real life issues, so I’ve been directing the scenes in a more realistic way; and relying on my designers to transform our space into the limbo between the living and dead that Isobel lives in. Slowly, through rehearsal, we’ve brought in elements of tech, adding sound and talking through lighting cues. Right now we’re in tech week, so we’re spending long hours putting together the set, the sound, the lights and costumes in the space. It’s been really amazing to see how every day everything comes together a bit more.
Now we’re in the final stretch. Today we have cue to cue, tomorrow tech dress and then dress rehearsal. Then we rest (just a little) and then it’s opening night on Thursday!
“Theatre is a marathon, not a sprint.”
What should audiences expect from this show?
Truthfulness. It’s real, it’s raw, and it doesn’t apologize for itself. But it’s also funny too, and very very human.
What are the three most important ingredients for a successful stage production?
Great question. Any good show has to start with a great script- it’s the foundation that the entire production stands on. Then, listening. If the actors are listening to each other then every moment is real. And last, but definitely not least, a good stage manager. They are the core of any production and by far the most important role in any show.
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far in your career?
Theatre is a marathon, not a sprint.
Are there any books or authors that have been influential to you so far in your creative journey?
Oh, so many. I pick up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic at least once a month. I keep it on my bedside table for the times when I can’t sleep because I’m worrying about creativity and surviving as an artist. The playwrights whose work influences me the most are Judith Thompson, George F. Walker and Linda Griffiths.
What other projects do you have coming up and where can people find out more about you online?
I just finished doing a reading of one of my new plays, Polished, at Intrepid Theatre. For this next year I’ll be workshopping two shows with some really amazing theatre companies- still in early stages, but very very exciting. Keep an ear out for me!
Thanks to Bronwyn Carradine for speaking with us!
You can see Lion in the Streets at Pacific Theatre July 20th to July 22nd and July 27th to July 29th at 8pm. 2pm matinee on July 29. Tickets $17 in advance at ResonanceTheatre.info or $20 at the door.