While Rope is Chelsey MacLean’s first Bygone Theatre production, she and director Emily Dix met each other in high school and first worked on a play together in 2007! Chelsey plays the dim-witted Leila Arden.
1. What first attracted you to Bygone Theatre and this production of Rope?
I had actually been directed by Emily Dix before, for my first play! I had always looked up to Emily and she inspired me to try my hand at directing the following year. I was eager to work with Emily’s professional and artistic skills once again with the added benefit of us bringing our new training to the table. I was also excited for this project as I am a big Patrick Hamilton fan (Let’s do Gaslight next!).
2. What is your favourite part of working on a site-specific play that runs in real time?
My favourite part of working in a site specific play is that both actor and audience can build a relationship with their environment, which I think brings both parties closer together; the actor endows the very setting the audience sits in while the audience has the advantage of not only watching a reality unfold, but find themselves immersed in it. I believe the real time aspect furthers the suspension of disbelief as the audience does not feel interrupted, and the actor can have the treasure of experiencing the minutia of their character’s moment to moment thought process.
3. What have you done to prepare for your role?
To prepare for Rope, I read a few of Patrick Hamilton’s works to familiarize myself with his style, researched the history and setting of the play, then the history and setting of where our production places Rope to find connections/ contrasts; understanding the norms for women at this time in history was quite helpful. As I further explored Leila Arden and her film buff nature, I have happily taken up watching movies from the 1920’s as an additional step to understanding her influences.
4. What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process so far?
I really value the cast of Rope. Every rehearsal I have the gift of learning a little something from each member of this diverse group of actors and those pieces add up to creating a fantastic experience.
5. Why should everyone come and see Rope?
Everyone should come see Rope and support local theatre because its a provocative mix of terror, comedy, and psychological intrigue set in our very own Toronto with a timeless story that entertains and questions! Why watch another Whodunnit, when you can be in the room to witness what unfolds once “it” is done? Besides, Leila Arden saw it once, and she thought it was good, dear; why absolutely marvelous!
Want to see Chelsey grace the stage as the lovely Leila Arden? Get tickets through TO Tix, show runs November 21-29, 2014 at the Gibson House Museum