Interview with Alice Gold
By Isabelle Duff
As the cast and crew embark on the final stages of preparation for the Vagina Monologues, ST.ART caught up with Assistant Director Alice Gold to hear more about the production. In this interview she speaks about working with director Ryan Hay and their approach to the show.
ST.ART: Why do you deem the Vagina Monologues to be so important?
AG: I guess that the reason I think Vagina Monologues is important is because it delves into issues surrounding female sexuality, agency and, even, female genitals. And it's so important because even in a free-thinking modern university environment, these issues aren't discussed. It's so weird because things like vaginas and periods are things that those of us born biologically female by and large must experience. So why do we describe them as so cloak-and-dagger? Vagina Monologues is a funny, politically and, overall, heartfelt look at vaginas and the women that own them. It embraces all classes and cultures. And it is being produced in conjunction with Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre. I would highly recommend anyone that owns a vagina, or anybody that knows anybody that owns a vagina coming and seeing it!
ST.ART: You have acted in many plays in St. Andrews but you decided to switch it up for this production. What has your experience of directing the Vagina Monologues been like?
AG: I have assistant directed on Vagina Monologues and it has been a pleasure to work with our brilliant director, Ryan Hay. He has such vision and has really encouraged the girls to think about their personal experiences of being a woman in an age of pink tax. I would say the work I have done on a few of the monologues has focused on us unpicking the meaning of these monologues and the implications on a local and international scale. I have also worked on the different ways that the monologues can be voiced with the girls, politically, with humour and on the agency of each of the women.
Ryan has been the true master of the project and I love working with somebody as talented as him and a bunch or really, really brilliant women!
ST.ART: What can we look forward to in this production of the monologues that differs from other takes on the play?
AG: Ryan has masterminded the production values which have been highly collaborative and fun. This, I suppose differs from others styles of productions of the Vagina Monologues because Ryan has made sure that, even though the nature of the piece demands the individuality and successes of the monologues, there is no 'star' player and the girls make choices to benefit the entire team and to create one cohesive narrative of womanhood.
Ryan has also chosen a really mixed cast, so there are a lot of creative styles in a melting pot of genius, which is fantastic!
A lot of my work with the cast has been about getting their individuality into monologues and ensuring they come from themselves, as Ryan has fully embraced this as Ensler's intention. So we have talked about their relation to the monologues and to their 'woman'. On some levels this is very successful and creates beautiful dynamics in the cast's work. But in other cases, this style of 'acting-not-acting' (as I see it) is more challenging. Wait until you see Hannah Raymond Cox's monologue for example.
ST.ART: Finally, what can you say to those who have not seen the play or never heard of it? Why should they go and see it?
AG: The play is relevant for anybody that has ever owned or known somebody that has owned a vagina because it charts the narrative of women-our mothers, grandmothers and sisters, of all ages and so, affects each and every one of us. It t is shocking that in the 21st Century that women are still experiencing oppression and that we cannot free shout vagina on the street.
Our version of the play doesn’t want to simply destroy the patriarchy but take it by the hand and lead it through and interesting and exciting journey about our vaginas. I mean we all want to know more. Am I right?
And it is bloody funny, so by all means come along for that too! The perfect date for Valentine's Sunday (and Monday).
The Vagina Monologues are on 14th and 15th February at the Union main stage. Show starts 7.30pm Tickets £3. Available at the door, or via firstname.lastname@example.org