The world premiere of The Moor marks the third collaboration between writer Catherine Lucie and I.
We first met in 2012 after a course leader from East 15, where we both went to school (though at different times) passed my details along to an actor and writer for a new project. But it just so happened this actor also had a friend who also was an actor and writer who was writing a new play, her first. I feel constantly indebted to the three degrees of separation that brought us together for the lots of late night chats and theatre dates that has allowed us to grow as a collaborative duo over the last 6 years. What has always drawn me to Catherine’s work is her assured, whimsical, and compassionate voice. This is a person who believes all things are possible, and that the most exciting thing about any story, is that there are no lines of black and white; no person lives in the good or bad camp. In Catherine’s work there is a firmly held belief that we are all doing what we can with the tools we have (with what the world presents us; with what is thrown our way).
In The Moor, the young woman Bronagh lives on the edge of everything, isolated in almost every aspect of her life. A new mother, recently bereaved and in a toxic relationship, Bronagh is doing the best she can. But she lives on the moor, on the edge of a small town, and her relationship to that place is complicated - but it’s all she has. When a boy goes missing, Bronagh finds a voice… but her radical act of defiance spirals out of control.
Bronagh’s situation is not uncommon (although her way of taking agency is). Even those of us who are more fortunate than Bronagh live in a world that takes the male state as the norm, and behaves as though women asking for the same opportunities are somehow asking for more. Life has lashed out at Bronagh, but when she lashes back, those in her world - and perhaps we also - are taken aback. But Bronagh, like all of us, is shaped by what she knows. This play is risky, because it challenges our sense of what is reasonable… and how far is too far when fighting back?
Catherine sent me The Moor in 2014. Over the last four years we have spent time workshopping, interrogating and building on the text. And through all this work, there has remained Catherine’s unfaltering commitment to tell stories about characters underrepresented on today’s stages.
It’s this commitment and Catherine’s curiosity about magic realism in theatre that unites with my own thinking and tastes in this production. I believe all these things too; theatre can offer us more about the stories we see and how our imaginations are used. And we can demand more from it.
Catherine and I both believe it is critical to make work that gives a voice to women on the edge of society. And we believe this sort of work has resonance for all people, especially those, like ourselves, who struggle to keep the plates spinning between working and personal responsibilities.
This has all been at the forefront of our collaboration and friendship. And this is important because we think this work can have resonance for all people. And also, it can be entertaining for all people. Especially with The Moor and its kick-ass female lead. It’s gripping and intriguing and I can’t wait to see what people make of Bronagh’s story.