As rehearsals get under way we caught up with director, Tamara Harvey, to find out more about the show, the cast and how rehearsals are going.
Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to want to become a director?
I always loved being involved in the school plays – onstage and off – painting scenery, pouring orange squash for the actors in the interval when I was too young to be in the show, acting in the ones when I was older. But I knew I didn’t want to be an actor – I just didn’t know what other jobs there were.
When I was seventeen, an opera company at the Brighton Arts Festival had a scheme allowing students to shadow members of the creative team. I got a place shadowing the co-directors and after about ten minutes in the rehearsal room, I knew that directing was the job I wanted to do.
You have directed this brand new adaptation of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray – how did the concept for this retelling come about?
Through a series of conversations and WhatsApp messages between the writer, Henry Filloux-Bennett and me. But mainly through the genius of Henry’s mind.
Have you had to change the way you would normally direct a piece of theatre with it being a digital production?
Yes. A lot more of the work has happened remotely, both with the actors and with the other members of the creative team. And there’s had to be a lot less rehearsal and a lot more diving in and making choices in the moment with the cameras or audio recording equipment rolling.
What can audiences expect from this new adaptation?
The heart of Oscar Wilde’s original, with all of the wit, sparkle and darkness of the novel, retold using all the online tools of the 21st century.
Tell us about the cast and what’s it’s been like adapting to socially distanced rehearsals?
We’ve got the most extraordinary cast – all of them breathtakingly talented and all of them, thank goodness, also properly lovely humans. They’ve been wonderfully collaborative in our rehearsals on Zoom and in our very brief filming period – I couldn’t have wished for a more amazing company.
What message would you like this production to leave audiences with?
I’ll respectfully decline to answer that question. If we tell the story well, hopefully the audiences’ responses will be as different as the audience members themselves.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is available to watch online from Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 31 March.
Age guidance: 16+
Content warning: The Picture of Dorian Gray includes extremely strong language and contains scenes of self-harm, suicide, death and mental illness which some viewers may find upsetting.