Interview with Sarah Finlay – Director of Stella Full Of Storms

Stella full of Storms

STELLA FULL OF STORMS – The Cup Theatre Company presents STELLA FULL OF STORMS, a new play by Kate Gilmore.

“I think letters are classy. So, that’s how I continue to assault Mr. Sorenson… via Bic pens and A4 sheets of paper.” Stella has fallen in love for the first time… she has fallen for Anna. For Stella, this is fated… decided before any of us were born. For Anna, it is time to decide between Stella and Mr. Sorenson… Mr. Sorenson is the english teacher. 

STELLA FULL OF STORMS is a dark and witty new play about a teenage girl struggling with her sexuality and her self worth. This is a brutally honest portrayal of an anti-heroine and the lengths she’ll go to while addicted to her first love.

The Cup Theatre Company follows on from their original musical “A Picture of Us: A (sort of) Musical” with this daring new production, written by Kate Gilmore and performed by Clodagh Mooney Duggan.

STELLA FULL OF STORMS  PREMIERES November 11th – 22nd, 2014

We had the chance to chat to Sarah Finlay, director of Stella Full of Storms which opens in Theatre Upstairs next week. You can find the results below.

When did you become involved with the project, was it before it was written or after?

I got involved recently enough, after two drafts had been written. There was one more pass of the script made, mostly structural changes. The character and the story were clear from the outset – that second draft was incredibly impressive, and why I came on board. Not to mention the chance to work with inspiring young women like Kate and Clodagh.

Was the writer, Kate Gilmore, involved throughout the process of rehearsal?

Kate is an actress as well as a writer and she has been rehearsing and performing in ‘Little Gem’ during our rehearsals, so she hasn’t been able to pop in too often. But she was always at the end of a phone for calls or emails so any questions were answered promptly. She was also open to any suggestions that came from our exploration of the play.

Was there ever a difference of opinion on how to handle something in the text?

Not really; there were definitely discussions on what was the best way to tell the story when Kate was putting the final draft together, but we were all generally on the same page. There was great input from the guys at Theatre Upstairs too at different points and Kate has taken it all in her stride and put together a strong, coherent and surprising play.

In the notes, one character is described as being ‘addicted to love’. Explain?

Stella is addicted to Anna. She cannot get enough, cannot get close enough. It brings out both the best and the worst in her. It begins as a crush and develops into a relationship, but never loses the obsession Stella started out with. The play explores all the joy and pain that comes with loving someone almost too much. One of my favourite lines sums it up nicely – ‘I’ve had dreams about eating her before. Maybe then I’d have enough.’

The piece seems to deal with some difficult issues, it is difficult to get humour into a production dealing with such issues?

Our focus has always been on the emotional journey of the play, and on being true to the characters and situations, but Kate has written a very witty script so there are plenty of moments of humour. Stella has a wonderful imagination as well as a great turn of phrase. It’s very dark at times, and there are moments of black comedy too. We are dealing with difficult issues, but there is definitely some lightness to contrast the storm.

Theatre Upstairs regularly has lunch time and evening shows, is there a difference between the two audiences?

There can be, the lunch time audience can occasionally be a little quieter, more reserved, maybe more thoughtful. But they are always a generous, smart and supportive audience. And the space is so intimate, they are always a crucial element in the dynamic of any show that goes on there!

Did you ever have a crush on a school teacher?

No thank god, there was never really any crush material among the teachers in my school. But there were some inspiring, smart woman that I still get nervous thinking about; I’d still be desperate to impress them if I met them today! And there was always the cool, older girl who you wanted to be friends with, wanted to be noticed by. I have some friends now who are teachers – being facebook stalked and followed on twitter is a whole new part of the job!!

STELLA FULL OF STORMS  PREMIERES November 11th – 22nd, 2014

Stella full of Storms 2

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