RAE BROGAN plays Sarah, a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome who seduces her sister’s husband, in Burning Bridges. The show is the theatrical debut of writer Amy Shindler, and runs at Theatre503 until the 8th October.
Theatre Bubble: What are the challenges of performing a neurologically atypical character?
Rae Brogan: The main challenge is trying to gain an understanding of how that person experiences, processes and responds to the world. Thankfully, Amy Shindler (the playwright) has written Sarah with great care and detail and was available during the rehearsal process to answer my relentless stream of questions. You can obviously never fully understand these things without having the first-hand experience, so beyond that I think the challenge then becomes trusting yourself, trusting the research and the writing and committing to the choices.
TB: Do you feel characters with autism are typically misrepresented in popular culture?
RB: I think there’s a lack of representation altogether. In the arts and media, characters on the autistic spectrum are few and far between and sadly, there is virtually zero representation of autistic women.
TB: How does Burning Bridges challenge that?
RB: In ‘Burning Bridges’ Amy Shindler has put a complex young female who happens to have Asperger’s at the centre of the story. She is a character that I, for one, have never seen on stage before. I think that’s incredibly important and I couldn’t be prouder to be involved.
TB: What is your advice for anyone pursuing a career as an actor?
RB: Try to surround yourself with good and talented people, work really bloody hard and always be protected by your own self-belief.
TB: What, if anything, would you like to change about your profession?
RB: I want to see more great female roles that reflect the diversity and stories of women today.