Accents and sex in “After Mrs. Rochester”

Does that headline make you curious?  Hee!  There are a lot of accents in this play – West Indian, standard British, cockney, Dutch…  And an awful lot of kissing and [simulated] sex – our heroine Jean Rhys had three husbands and a great number of lovers during her long and colourful life.

Dialect coach John Fleming attended last night’s rehearsal, which consisted of working the scenes at the end of Act I.  We’d run the scene, and then director Laura Roald would ask John if he had any accent notes for the actors.  One of the funny ones was his prompt to actor Tabitha Keast (playing English writer Ford Madox Ford – see photo):  “Rattle, rattle, bing”, a phrase he admitted to stealing from his own teacher, who stole it from someone else.   Imagine a typewriter – speak at a fast clip, then punch the last word:  “BING!”

And about the sex, here’s another quote from rehearsal.

DIRECTOR (to actors LAINE NEWMAN and JESSICA ROSE): “Now you have standing sex.”

ME (to LAINE, who plays multiple characters):  “Oooh, you haven’t had sex before, have you?”

LAINE:  “Yes I have, but it wasn’t consensual.”

Well, “not consensual” is a bit harsh – there’s no rape in the play, but let’s just say that Jessica’s character Ella wasn’t thrilled with that particular experience.

Anticipating another visit next week from Fight Director Christopher Mott, who came to rehearsal on August 17 to give us a brief tutorial and run through the fight scenes.  No guns or knives in “After Mrs. Rochester”, but there’s plenty of other physical stuff – beating, biting, pushing & shoving, throwing to the floor – we’re a girly bunch, but we get into it pretty good!  Now that we’re off book (the official date was August 31), Chris should be able to really work with us.

Three weeks until opening!!


Filed under 2011/12 season, After Mrs. Rochester

2 responses to “Accents and sex in “After Mrs. Rochester”

  1. You had me at “accents.” Okay – you really had me at “sex.” Looking forward to seeing this sexy, literary, girl-fight of a show.

  2. Excellent – we are pumped the more we get into it. Dunno about the others, but I have bruises on all my knees and elbows! Did a run last night for lighting designer Paul Hardy – it was his first time seeing the show.

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