The Good Dad is a One-woman psychological drama about the consequences of child sexual abuse, We spoke to performer Sarah Lawrie.
Tell us a bit about the show
The Good Dad (A Love Story) is a one woman show by award-winning playwright Gail Louw, who happens to have no less than three of her plays running at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe! I’ve performed it three times before in London but am feeling very ready to bring it to new audiences. I would describe it as a psychological drama; over the course of 50 minutes, a story unravels in fragments, told by the unique perspectives of a mother and her two identical twin daughters, Donna and Carol. When we first meet Donna she is awaiting trial for the murder of her father but it’s only through memory and flashbacks that we slowly learn how and why she has ended up there. Suffice to say there is a good deal of irony in the title – it’s certainly not a love story in the fairytale sense.
What are the challenges/best parts of creating a solo show?
There’s a certain amount of masochism in mounting a solo show, but I really relish the challenge and I love direct address. Every single performance is different for this reason – there’s a real sense of alchemy with the audience. One of the challenges is not having that shared dressing room experience for sure, and I feel really lucky that I’m also doing a show at The Assembly Rooms which is a comedy with a cast of four. It will be a very good counterbalance to The Good Dad. I also have great support in my director, Anthony Shrubsall.
Can you tell us a bit about the main themes?
It’s a play about trust and consent (and the lack thereof) and how secrets within families start to ferment, over time. It also explores what it means to be a victim – all three of the women we meet in the play are victims of sorts. I should add that we are mounting the production in support of the charity Victim Support which we felt was important when exploring themes of abuse within families. It’s sad to say that while the play is based on real life events from back in the 1980s, these stories continue to play out. The play also touches on some of the institutional problems at play in such situations.
What would you like the audience to take away from the show?
Despite the challenging nature of the subject matter, the piece is at times funny and moving and there are many twists and turns to sustain an audience. I suppose I would like people to feel that they have seen a piece of quality theatre and – if they are in any way affected by the show – that they feel more empowered to reach out to charities such as Victim Support. I really believe that theatre should have a social value, so I hope that’s writ large in our production.
What are you most looking forward to about heading to Edinburgh Fringe?
Seeing as much live performance as possible! Seriously, I intend to drink it all in and I am so excited to see friends in shows across the month. I am also producing a couple of plays (also at Surgeons’ Hall), so I’m excited to see how they will land. Last but not least I have also made a promise to myself that I will climb Arthur’s Seat this year.
What is your favourite Fringe memory whether as a performer or audience member?
Rich pickings! Probably seeing my friend Emma Wilkinson Wright absolutely smash it last year in Assisted – a new play about AI which ran at The Space and went on to receive some significant accolades. I produced the piece for her and it was amazing to see all our blood, sweat and tears pay off. That was a great moment.
The Good Dad is playing at the Edinburgh Fringe at Space at Surgeons’ Hall, Theatre 2, 4-26 August (not 13) at 21.15. Link here to buy tickets