Interview: Claudia Carroll on Orange Moon Theatre’s The Nightingale & the Rose

Orange Moon Theatre are bringing lesser known and performed Oscar Wilde works to the Camden Fringe this August. I caught up with Claudia Carroll who promises that everything we love about witty Wilde remains intact in this loving adaptation. The show plays at The Lion and Unicorn until August 3rd…
Tell us a little about Orange Moon as a company – who are you, how did it all begin and what’s the story behind the name?

We were at The Minack in Cornwall, a magnificient place and there was the most fantastic harvest moon over the stage every night and I was working with a close group of people who are, like me, very serious about making fun and beautiful theatre. And that’s what we do, balance the beautiful with the comic and make an evening of entertainment that everyone can enjoy!

What would you say your goal or vision is when it comes to the work you produce?

That’s what our name is all about: Orange Moon. Rarified but classic stories (like an orange moon), inspired by the magic and led by women (the moon is mystical and magical and commonly identified as a woman – the author of our first show Galatea is John Lyly and his Woman in the Moon is about all of this). Our young theatre company unearths lost stories that the traditional canon has forgotten in a fun, accessible and magical way…

In brief, what can you tell us about the stories of The Nightingale & the Rose & Other Tales?

They are both tales of love versus ignorance; selflessness versus waste, yet they are beautiful fairytales filled with loads of classic Wildean wit and hilarious social commentary, told through the eyes of children, animals and plants.

F2767674-5396-4B54-8EB1-FE48C55E5D08.jpegWhat was it that drew you to Oscar Wilde’s work as opposed to new writing?

Well, we love to bring classic stories that are a little under-appreciated back into people’s persepective. Everyone knows Wilde, but not many people know his fairytales and the gorgeous settings, playful narration and Wilde’s ability to balance beauty with comedy are all perfect for Orange Moon’s style.

The production is a new adaptation of Wilde’s work – how much of the original has been tweaked and what has your adaptation added or removed from the stories? Is this a consciously modernised adaptation for instance?

The adaptations have largely remained true to the original text but we changed a little dwarf to a little forest boy to make it sightly more family friendly – the endings are quite dark…!

The production uses ‘Inventive physical storytelling’ – how does this take shape and how in your view does this style and approach benefit the narratives and production as a whole?

The stories are set respectively in a forest and a garden and filled with plants, flowers and creatures of all kinds. These living things all have lines and so the characters have to speak out of us. It has been so much fun making a haughty flower, a mentally unstable painting, a kind bird, a frisky lizard… etc.B4BA4C95-972F-49BD-84ED-DAC47036F3C2.jpegThe Nightingale & the Rose & Other Tales promises to be ‘moving’ and ‘fun’ while ‘sillifying the serious’ as well as ‘cutting through tragedy with beauty’ – that’s a tall order! How does your production do justice to the depth and breadth of ground being covered in just an hour?

We are all about the fun, so while these stories are dark, you are lulled into the darkness and snapped back out of it again before you have time to want to end it all! It’s a really emotional ride.

The Nightingale & the Rose and The Birthday look at the classic themes of ‘prejudice against difference and the ignorance of the privelleged’ – what would you say the central messages of the stories are, and does your adaptation carry the same messages as Wilde’s original?

These stories really do come from Wilde’s heart, they are filled with emotion. I think they really speak to people about the unjustness of society and the concentration of wealth, but more so privellege on those who care little for others. It is heartbreaking to see the kindest and most selfless of the characters get thwarted while the least are off the hook. There is no happy ending, and I think that makes it very clear.

If an audience takes just one thing away from seeing The Nightingale & the Rose & Other Tales, what would you like that to be?

A tear and a chuckle!

D7CB3044-5E06-477A-B0D7-95A49DB4BA19Now for the Quick Fire Round!
Who or what has inspired you most in theatre?
Emma Rice and Kneehigh
Favourite theatre genre and why?
Early Modern period – beautiful language and shocking stuff out of the canon. Anything fairytale like.
Etiquette debates – worthwhile or futile?
Where do you draw the line? – Ithink everyone should follow etiquette if they know it, but everyone is welcome in theatre, so get over it if they don’t!
If you could bring change in terms of opportunities in Theatre to London right now, what would it be? What does London need?
More women, running the show.
Finally, to close, sell your show to readers in just one sentence.
If you want a fun new experience, filled with pathos and jollity, this is for you!
So there you have it! Remember: The Nightingale and the Rose plays the Camden Fringe at the Lion and Unicorn until 3rd August 2018 and you can find tickets here.

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