Directing a new work can be as terrifying as it is exciting. You enter the rehearsal room with so many unanswered questions, and more often than not, the process raises even more questions than you had before. A Boy Called Anne is Tortive Theatre's new one-actor show about the life of the felonious pirate Anne Bonny, and in the play, we try to unpick the person behind the crimes she committed. There are a few factual snippets of Bonny littered throughout the historical record, but in reality, only a small amount is known about her. So, we're crafting a character on conjecture, which is both liberating and terrifying. We can make educated guesses, but we still have to remember that this was a real person. They existed and had thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams. When we're putting a character on the stage, it's not the job of the director or actor to pass judgment on them; it is to present our interpretation of them as we see them. The audience can then take what they like from that interpretation and make their own choices. All we get to do is say, "This is who Anne Bonny might have been; this is what she might have done." We're not there to say whether her actions and intentions were wrong or right. That is for the audience to decide.
As we end our first week of rehearsals for A Boy Called Anne, it's clear that she is a complex and fascinating character. It's also clear there's more to her than we had appreciated. That has made for some exciting conversations about the play's future and what it might become after further development and its premiere in Cheltenham. This is where the audience plays a massive part in the life of a play. Our interpretation will be presented on the 1st & 2nd of February at the fabulous Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, and we invite you to give us your thoughts.
Not only will you see the play on its first outing, but you'll also be a part of its next stages before a run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2024 and then a UK tour in 2024-25.
Good theatre needs a great audience...it's only with a great audience that we can create great theatre.