Boston Marriage, a new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright David Mamet, is set to open on the Gold Coast on the 20th February 2015. Featuring a who’s who cast of Australian actors in its three lead roles, this female-only play is a departure from Manet’s earlier work, which has featured a string of male protagonists.
At the turn of the 20th century, two women who lived together without a man were termed as having a “Boston Marriage”. Mamet’s story centres on the various intrigues of the two main characters played by Amanda Muggleton and Rachel Gordon, and their maid played by Helen Cassidy. Ahead of the Gold Coast preview, Natalie O’Driscoll caught up with Rachel Gordon to chat about the production.
Are you looking forward to the show opening?
Yes well the preview is on Saturday. It’ll be nice to have an audience!
How long have you been rehearsing?
Rehearsals started just before Christmas, so it’s been about five weeks all up, with a few breaks in between. We’re doing the tech rehearsal tomorrow to work out the lighting and everything and we get to try on our wigs for the first time, which is exciting.
Can you tell me a bit about your character and the role she plays in the story?
My character is called Clare. The show is about two women in a Boston Marriage which is a term they used to use to describe two women who lived together without the assistance of a man, and so that could be an umbrella term for a lesbian relationship or maybe just two independent women. Clare and Anna (Amanda Muggleton) have been in a lesbian relationship for a long time though, and my character asks Anna’s permission to use her house to entertain her new lover, so a lot of jealousy and lot of witty dialogue ensues.
Did you know what a Boston Marriage was before you started the role?
I’d seen a production of this play in Melbourne a couple of years ago and so I knew what it was from then. I really loved the script when I saw the Melbourne production and I’m a big fan of Pamela Rabe [who played Anna] so was a real treat when Andrea [Moor, the director] asked me to be in the Queensland production, so I’m really fortunate.
Can you describe any of your favourite scenes or lines in the play?
I don’t want to give too much away. I don’t have a favourite, it’s all really good. That’s a hard question. I love the scenes with Helen Cassidy she’s very, very funny. A LOT of humour in those scenes.
It must be exciting to be working on a David Mamet piece.
Well he’s renowned for his incredible dialogue. He was criticised for only being able to write for men, so in response to the critics he wrote this amazing play which has three incredible roles for women. It is such a treat to play these fantastic roles. Amanda and I play the couple and Helen – who gets all the best lines – plays the maid who constantly disrupts and we’re really awful to her which is a huge source of amusement.
Have there been any amusing rehearsal anecdotes that you’re allowed to share?
It’s been a really wonderful experience in that the entire cast and crew has been female. Our director Andrea Moor is a very successful actress and award-winning director and she’s doing really well. Our stage manager is also female, and it’s an all female cast, so there’s a lot of oestrogen in the room. We kind of became really filthy actually, quite debauched, because there was no need to act like ladies I guess! (laughs)
Had you worked with Helen or Amanda previously?
Only Andrea actually, as an actor. We did a David Williamson play together for the Queensland Theatre Company and I just adore her. She’s so talented, and I really wanted to work with her again.
So between Neighbours, Home and Away, Blue Heelers, All Saints… you’ve sure done the who’s who of Aussie television. Are you taking a break from TV at the moment or is there something else in the pipeline?
I’ve got a show I just shot before we did this called Winter, it’s premiering on Channel 7 in February, with Rebecca Gibney. I play her sister and that’s a really exciting new show for Channel 7 and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. It was wonderful to work with Rebecca she’s the loveliest person. She’s really talented but also just very generous.
I loved you in the Moodys!!
Ahh the Moodys!! It’s so funny. In the first series I had just had my first baby and in the second series I was 8 months pregnant and the wardrobe lady won an award, and I said she should have won it because I was 8 months pregnant, supposed to be playing this character who was desperate to have a baby, and she had to cover it up. So they had me standing behind other actors, wearing a loose fitting sarong, and all this stuff.
DATE Fri 20 & Sat 21 February, 7.30pm
VENUE Arts Theatre, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise
COST Adults $54, Concession $47, Group 6+ $45 and Student $30
BOOK (07) 5588 4000 or www.theartscentregc.com.au