Lovers and Liars : A David Garrick Double Bill
(Actor playing ‘Kitty Pry’)
Aside from textual study in regard to the character of Kitty Pry, we drew firstly upon a Stanislavskian technique of noting a character’s ‘objectives’ and ‘counter-objectives’ in each scene. This has given me inspiration as it helped to reveal Kitty’s motives for her behaviour and therefore her movement in relation to the other characters on stage. It also enabled me to make a list of her character traits which varied from scene to scene:
In addition, I have been influenced by my research into the original casting of Jane Hippisley in the role of Kitty, as it has led to further assumptions about character which I have drawn upon in my own interpretation and have directly influenced my vocal delivery. For example, Hippisley’s father drew upon comic provincial accents throughout his performance career, something I felt might have inspired Jane’s own performances. Moreover, her other performance history such as Cherry in The Stratagem and Miss Biddy in Miss in Her Teens marked her casting type to be one of a formidable woman: experienced in her dealings with the opposite sex.
When acting opposite Alex (playing the part of Sharp), we were aware of the text alluding to a sexual chemistry between these two characters and when discussing the levels of familiarity, romance and status battles, we often found ourselves drawing on our previous study of Much Ado About Nothing. Beatrice and Benedick’s warring ,yet deeply affectionate, relationship helped us to colour the way in which we approached our on stage behaviour and proxemics.
Considering the decision to set our production of The Lying Valet in the 1920’s, I have also been influenced by the popular culture and somewhat glamorous depiction of the era seen most recently in Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs. Downton in particular helped pinpoint the way in which a maid can be a confidante to her mistress, when considering Mary and Anna’s relationship in this way. More recently, I have begun to research the 20s performers of the Music Hall and Gracie Fields, in particular has inspired my characterisation of Kitty. I feel that the embittered delivery of Field’s performances and comic songs and her ‘no-airs-and-graces’, northern working class style embodies some of the humour which I’d like to inject into my portrayal of Kitty Pry.