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Escaped Alone – Director Susan Wilson Q&A

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New Zealand Premiere


“I only am escaped alone to tell thee” Book of Job, Moby Dick                                                                                                     

Circa Two 11 March – 8 April
Tues – Sat 7.30pm, Sun 4.30pm
$25 – $52  

Fri 10 March & Sun 12 March SOLD OUT!

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Susan Wilson
With Music by Gareth Farr

Escaped Alone wins Best Play 2016 at the UK Writers’ Guild Awards 

Director Susan Wilson talks about this award -winning play and Caryl Churchill who is considered one of the greatest playwrights of this century.

EA PHOTO CARYL CHURCHILL HIGH RES 1 CC to use - credit Marc Brenner (Light Shining reh photo 1)

Playwright: Caryl Churchill


What drew you to choosing to direct this play?

It was a new play by the fantastic Caryl Churchill written for four older women and as I know that there are extraordinarilly talented older women actors in Wellington it was an immediate attraction. I read the play and loved its importance, relevance and brilliance and what better way than to counter the invisibility of older women than to put them on stage.  This is rare and wondrous!

It was only after it was programmed by Circa that it received the prestigious Writers’ Guild Award (UK) for best play of 2016. It has just enjoyed a sell-out return season at the Royal Court Theatre and will be seen in New York before touring the UK. We are delighted that this season is part of the Women’s Theatre Festival (WTF!) at Circa.

Is this the first Caryl Churchill play you have directed?  

Yes it is. I have seen many of her plays and always loved them. Circa has produced several of her works including two productions of Cloud 9.

They are all challenging plays from a director’s point of view but hugely rewarding. She was one of the first playwrights to use overlapping dialogue. I remember thinking how marvellous this was after reading Top Girls. In Escaped Alone, Caryl Churchill has moved even further into this realm. Her dialogue overlaps, is cut off and rhythmical but we still follow the stories of each character. The result is that there is a richness and depth in her characters and story.  As Time Out’s Andrzej Lukowski says, she has an incredible gift for spinning light out of the dark.

Director: Susan Wilson

Director: Susan Wilson

What did you think when you first read the script?                                             

I immediately knew I wanted to do this play as soon as possible with a stunning cast to do it justice. I am thrilled to have four of the best – Ginette McDonald, Carmel McGlone, Jane Waddell and Irene Wood. Escaped Alone is an important play about our world at the present moment.  It looks to the future and asks many questions about why we are here and where we are going.  And it‘s funny!

You have a long history of directing, particularly at Circa what are the joys of it?

It is a privilege to be able to bring such a variety of new work from both New Zealand and overseas to our audiences.  I love the collaborative process with design, lights and in this case special music composed by Garth Farr. And I love watching the actors create, develop and realise their performances.  It is both challenging and rewarding .


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