We had the chance to put some questions to Rachel Trezise about Cotton Fingers which opens at the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Dublin tomorrow night! You can see the results below.
You seem to vary between writing prose and writing for the stage. Do you have a first love between the different art forms or do you like the variation?
I love theatre and prose equally. The variation is brilliant but I do sometimes have to remind myself which form I’m working on when I’m deep into the story.
What do you see as the main differences for you between the art forms?
The main difference is the collaboration between myself, director/artistic director, design and cast while working on theatre. Prose is much more solitary. I have to create the cast, costume and design from scratch on my own!
When did you start writing this piece? Was it a topic you were thinking about for a long time?
No, it was a sort of accident that I ended up writing about abortion law in Ireland. The play began life as one of five monologues to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS in 2018. While I was wondering what part of the NHS I wanted to focus on Trump was threatening to change abortion law in the US so I was thinking about how lucky we are in Wales, Scotland and England to be able to access abortion care free of charge. At around the same time the NHS began to fund abortion care from Northern Irish women travelling to the mainland for the procedure so that’s the angle I went with. Halfway through the first draft the 8th amendment was repealed in the Republic which lent the monologue more potency but I had no idea that that was going to happen.
With the recent court rulings in Alabama, the topic of abortion is back in the headlines again. Do you think it will always be a battleground for those on either side of the divide?
Unfortunately, yes. I think women always have to be vigilant about their rights as sooner or later someone will want to take them away again.
What involvement have you had with the rehearsal process? Has the script evolved much since the director/ cast have been involved?
I’ve been working with Julia Thomas the director from very early on, passing the script back and forth with comments and questions, then as soon as Amy was cast we also took her thoughts and suggestions on board, especially anything to do with Belfast dialect and geography as she comes from Belfast and knows the city in ways I never could.
What are you working on currently?
I’m writing a novel and a new collection of short stories.