Director Izzie Turner and actor Coline Atterbury join us on Close-Up Culture to discuss their new production, The Colour Of August.
Debuting at the Open House Hackney later this month, it follows the story arch of two female artists who are life-long friends and former lovers. The story is extremely moving, unforgiving, sensual, beautiful, heartbreaking and important.
For ticket info – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-colour-of-august-tickets-314256939967
How did you both get involved with this project?
CA: It’s almost a year ago now that my friend Bella Rose handed me the play and suggested I read it, considering one of the more challenging scenes for an assessment at drama school. I was immediately intrigued by this beautiful, passionate and witty story between these two very complex women. Let me just say: There was no need for consideration. Even long after leaving drama school in October I couldn’t stop thinking about it and both of us felt that this wasn’t going to be the end of it. And here we are!
IT: Discovering this project was a case of divine timing. Bella attended a women’s art event at Open House Hackney. She fell in love with the venue, I fell in love with the play and our collective passion led to me coming aboard as the director of the Colour of August and Open House Hackney being chosen as the venue for the production’s premiere!
Coline, can you tell us about the character you play?
CA: I play Maria Dehesa. On the surface, Maria seems like the type of woman who has it all figured out. She’s married, rich and has become a successful and respectable artist. Something she’s always dreamt of. However, underneath her perfect exterior lies something truly unfulfilled and an unbearable longing for her former lover, friend and muse Laura to return.
How have you approached this role?
CA: First of all, there’s the foundation of breaking down a script and figuring out objectives, beats and shifts in energy and the overall arc of the character. Choosing a song (or even a whole playlist) for the character’s emotional life is always part of the process for me and I find creating the character’s backstory really helpful. The really interesting stuff happens when you’re up on your feet, have learnt your lines (by ROTE), and are able to listen, react in the moment and PLAY with the other actor.
What else can you reveal about this story and the topics you explore?
CA: The Colour of August is about the complexity of female/female relationships, the sliding scale of sexuality, the female gaze in comparison with the male, the elision of art and life. The play feels relevant for now, in a way that it was perhaps less relevant when it was written. This is not just a story about two lovers. While their attraction to each other may also be sexual, their wants and needs are far less binary than that – which makes this play so exciting to explore.
IT: I love the play because it is an emotionally intense, sexy and intimate exploration of female relationships and the raw power of authentic creative expression.
How has your experience been working on this project?
CA: This project has definitely shown me how amazing it is to work with the right people. People who you respect, can trust, and who you know are dedicated. Working with our director Izzie Turner has been an absolute gift. She’s an “actor’s director” and knows exactly when and how to ask the right questions when it comes to the arc of the story or character’s motivation. Her way of working facilitates a fun, collaborative process of story telling where you keep discovering things in the moment.
IT: It has been a privilege to work with such brave, talented performers like Coline and Bella and I am extremely excited to share our work with the world for the first time on the 18th of May!
See the Colour Of August at the Open House Hackney