Jack Thorne’s STACY is a sexually explicit, confessional monologue. In a rambling account, Rob, the speaker, tells the story of his terrible decision that has changed the course of his life forever.
I spoke to the cast and crew about the importance of portraying the themes in the right way, its relevance to university culture and what they want the audience to take away from the production.
Why did you choose to perform STACY in Durham?
Alice Chambers (Director): I read Jack Thorne’s STACY over the summer and felt that it was important to show how appearances can be deceiving, and that sexual assault can be committed by someone who seems pretty normal. We’ve attempted to show this banality by having household items on stage.
What do you want the audience to think?
Alice: We don’t want the audience to think in any particular way. But I’m also very conscious of upsetting people. I have been worried about presenting sexual assault from the perpetrator’s viewpoint. We really don’t want to offend anyone.
What was the hardest part about creating the production?
Alice: The hardest bit about the creative process was pinning down the character of Rob. He’s an elusive character and has taken us a long time to crack.
John Broadhead (Rob): Yes – initially we saw a ruthless character, then one with a Freudian complex.
Alice: It was only two weeks ago that we realised Rob felt definite guilt. So, we made sure to show that more in our portrayal of his character.
John: The character is emotionally disturbed in a subtle way. It’s not obvious though, and in many ways he’s a pretty plain guy.
Alice: His character has so many paradoxes; for example, he’s very honest, but he can also be a liar.
John: I’m also conscious of building an interpretation of Rob that is true to the text. If the audience don’t feel that I capture Rob’s character well, there’s potential for misinterpretation, which could cause offence.
What part of the production have you worked hardest on?
Alice: We’ve designed and created our own set. Harry Jenkins and Rachel Tan have managed this. We feel that it adds an extra dimension to the production. I’ve also chosen to show the physical damage of rape on the slides playing in the background. We have taken the headshots ourselves.
Hannah Roe (Assistant Director): Yes, it’s so important to remember that rape can affect the victim both physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. We’ve also chosen to use two inflatable dolls to portray the objectification of women. It’s interesting how the character of Rob behaves differently with each one.
John: Another thing we’d love the audience to notice are my character’s tics. We’ve added this to portray the arc of Rob as a character. Rob also has a pop culture obsession and I’ve created my own audio, by layering the track names that my character mentions.
What do you want the audience to notice about your production?
Alice: We’ve chosen the venue based on its size. We wanted to set it up as a sort of therapy session. I will introduce the performance at the start of the production, in keeping with the therapy-style.
We also want the audience to know that there will be tea and coffee at the side of the room, and that the door will be left ajar so that anyone can leave if they feel uncomfortable.
Why should we watch the play?
Alice: It portrays some very relevant themes, especially with the current stream of sexual assault scandals.
John: It’s an uncomfortable play that makes you think, question what you’ve just seen and what your own views are.
Hannah: It’s especially important in relation to university culture, and shows how important consent is. The play almost makes the rapist ‘the boy next door’: he’s a human with good and bad traits too.
TRIGGER WARNING: STACY is a sexually explicit play. For details, please contact Letterbox Productions.
Please Note: There will be ID Checks on the door, so please remember to bring these.
STACY is on at 7:30pm, 29th November and 1st December, in Alington House.