Our Country’s Good Interview
Owl Eyes sat down for a chat with director Helena Jacques-Morton about Our Country’s Good, going up in The Stage this Thursday and Friday.
Why Our Country’s Good?
I think our country is good because we have a lot of nice buildings and sometimes it is nice and sunny. I jest, I picked ‘Our Country’s Good’ for very pretentious reasons. It’s a play about the importance of theatre and the reasons why we should make theatre. It felt like a fitting end to five years of making theatre in St Andrews. It also has lots of great lines about the stresses of being a director which seemed like a good way to end my St Andrews’ directing career.
How’s It been returning to The Stage?
We’ve had a lot of déja vu whilst rigging large swathes of calico from the stage lighting rig. I am a big fan of The Stage as it gives actors a chance to work on a bigger stage than the Barron and it also has allowed us to do fun things with set and lights and projections that we wouldn’t be able to do in the Barron. The technical side of the show has been really exciting and the space has allowed the team to make my very badly articulated thoughts and bad sketches into a reality!
How have you found working with the cast?
We’ve maybe had too much fun…the cast has been a wonderful mix of familiar faces and newcomers to the St Andrews’ stage. We’ve been lucky enough to have three freshers (Benjamin, Rose and Molly) making their St Andrews’ debuts as well as Rowan who has waited until his final semester to appear in a Mermaids production! There have been challenges – almost everyone doubles as two very different roles and scheduling rehearsals for a big ensemble cast is always tricky – but everyone has worked very hard to bring the play and this true story to life and I am very excited by their performances!
What has working with Mermaids meant to you, as an actor and a director?
I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m quite a fan of Mermaids – I basically stayed another year just to do more theatre (in class and out). I think Mermaids at its best offers opportunities that most of us would never otherwise have. Without Mermaids it would be so much harder for people to give things a go – I would never have decided to try my hand at directing without the support of the Mermaids committee. But I also wouldn’t have directed without the chances to act that Mermaids has given me over the years. Most importantly, Mermaids serves as the best way I’ve found so far to avoid the responsibilities of degrees and the looming spectre of ‘real life’, and hanging out with pals under the pretence of ‘making art’.