It wasn’t a play she knew, but Carrie Allen found herself immediately drawn to it.
She wasn’t intending to be in a play just now, thinking instead she would save herself for her summer stint with New Theatre Productions in West Dean Gardens.
But The Memory of Water – the spring production from the Chichester Players – proved irresistible. The production is at Chichester High School from April 11-14. Tickets on www.chichesterplayers.org.uk.
“I was thinking I would have a bit of a break before starting rehearsals for West Dean, but I started reading The Memory of Water and loved it – and there are not that many plays that have got really good, strong female leads. The play is very much about these three sisters as the three lead roles. I just loved the play from the outset. I would have loved to have played any of the three. They are such diverse characters. When we auditioned we auditioned for all the parts and it was up to the director to put us against each other and work how who works best with who.”
The end result is that Carrie is Mary, a neurologist at a major London Hospital. When her mother dies, Mary returns to her childhood home on the north Yorkshire coast for the funeral. There she meets up once again with older sister, Theresa. The younger sister, Catherine, also flies in for the event, from Spain.
“It is all about the memories of the three sisters and how really they each remember their childhood differently. For Mary, there are lots of issues that she had with her mother. She dreams her and has conversations with her that bring up things from her childhood.
“For me, as an actress, what I love most about playing Mary is that there are parts where some of her lines are just laugh-out-loud funny. She is quite caustic, very quick witted, very intelligent and comes out with very funny one-liners, but then there is lots of stuff that comes out about her past that is very, very heart-rending. I have had times during rehearsals when I have been laughing out loud and then times when I am in floods of tears. Every time we rehearse it, the emotions are still there and strong. She is such a great character to play.”
Carrie joined the Chichester Players six years ago when they staged a production of Blackadder, a show she had always adored.
“I had done a lot of amdram in the past when I was a lot younger, but I hadn’t done any for a long time and I really wanted to get back into it, and I had always loved the part of Queenie in Blackadder. I went along to the auditions and gave it my best shot, and since then I have done several plays.
“It is just something I have always loved. My family would argue that I have always been a bit of a drama queen. My first role at primary school at the age of ten was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in a school production, and that was how I got into acting. I never considered doing it as a profession, though. I had a great career in the police service which I enjoyed for a long time before having children, and now I enjoy it as a bit of me time away from everything.”
Other stories by Phil: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2