Nina Raine's play 'Consent' opens at the ADC Theatre in June. We spoke to the show's Director, ILONA SELL, to find out more about what audiences can expect.
Consent discusses many important questions related to the legal system and the investigation of sexual assault. How have you been exploring and discussing these matters with your cast?
One of the main concepts that this play aims to unpick is the idea that there is such as thing as a reliable witness. As part of the play, we see a snippet of a court case where someone’s life is torn apart in an attempt to discredited her testimony. This is a stark contrast with the rest of the characters who are mostly lawyers (or if not other middle-class professionals) who have the verbal ability to ensure that they are taken seriously.
Throughout the play we want the audience to realise that these people are no more moral than those who we view as unreliable witnesses, they’re just more able to present themselves effectively in a court setting. Therefore, with the cast, we have been exploring how to approach the characterisation of people who are both good and bad, sometimes to quite extreme extents both ways. We also have an upcoming intimacy workshop to explore some of the most challenging moments of the play.
What do you expect the audience’s reaction to be to the show?
Initially, I want the audience to be happily entertained by the show, it’s beautifully written with elements of real comedy as well as real warmth. As the play goes on, I want the audience to feel less and less sure about who they trust and who they believe is moral. The presentation of the play should invite the audience to make their own minds up about the characters in front of them and consider their own perceptions of what is acceptable in relationships.
How has your show been affected by the need for social distancing?
Overall, this is a show very suited to being socially distanced so not too much has had to change. When there are more than five characters on stage then it becomes slightly hard to block in a naturalistic way (we are trying to locate 2m+ sofas!) but overall there haven’t been too many challenges. There is one particular scene (which I won’t reveal the details of) that is far more difficult socially distanced, however, we have an idea that we’re excited to try out in the theatre that should (hopefully) provide a more powerful moment than physical intimacy would.
Without spoiling too much, what is your favourite part of the show?
That’s a very difficult question! I don’t know if I would say I have a favourite moment, however, a moment I’m very keen on that’s on the lighter side would be when a character is crying saying that he wishes his wife would love him for him, would love him for all his flaws and he quickly informed that this is in fact the job of his mother! There is also a ghost-spotting scene that is not quite as weird but far more awkwardly entertaining than it sounds.