Sienna Miller and Jack O'Connell on the 'terrifying' job of tackling Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
We speak to the stars of Benedict Andrews' production, opening in the West End next week
The Young Vic's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at the Apollo Theatre next week starring Sienna Miller and Jack O'Connell as Maggie and Brick.
Benedict Andrews directs Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a Mississippi family in crisis who gather to celebrate the birthday of cotton tycoon Big Daddy.
We caught up with Miller and O'Connell to find out what we can expect from this revival.
How does this production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof differ from others we may have seen?
SM: Benedict has an incredible ability to distill theatre and emotion and really get to the truth of what is being revealed – with very few places to hide.
JO'C: We have tried to make it a bit more contemporary by removing any reference to the period in which the play was originally written and set in. I suppose we intend to present a more modern take of this play to a more modern audience.
The play is 62 years old, does it still feel relevant?
JO'C: I think many of the themes are still being wrestled with within society today. That's a testament to the writer, his writing is bigger than us.
SM: It deals with the themes of what it is to be human. That is really what this play is about. The choices we make, the lies we tell ourselves – and others – and the consequences of behaviour when people are put under immense pressure. These themes are timeless. I can't see Tennessee's work ever not feeling relevant, unless we as a species went through some profound transformation. And even then, it would be fun to look back and study what we were…
What was it about playing Maggie and Brick that appealed to you?
SM: Maggie is one of the great female characters. Hugely charismatic, incredibly bright and witty and also deeply needy and flawed. I'm not sure I have ever come close to taking on something this enormous – that idea terrifies me and exhilarates at the same time. I tend to be drawn to the things that frighten me most.
JO'C: I feel like we get to understand what it is to want to withdraw from life, with Brick, he's dodging away from it all and has chosen to drink his way to some sort of oblivion. We learn his reasons why and we see how that affects those around him and I feel we have a fair and honest telling of that.
What is your favourite moment in the play?
JO'C: Can I tell you my least favourite? I spend the whole of the first act, nearly, wearing just a towel, and it's very difficult to keep it on, whilst on a crutch with a whiskey in hand for the most part.
SM: I get a huge kick out of the Mae and Gooper relationship.
Why should people come and see it?
SM: I think we might have made something exciting and dangerous and thought provoking, but either way you will get to luxuriate in some of the most beautiful dialogue ever written.
JO'C: We're all mega-proud already. The writing is endlessly telling us new things and I love our cast. It's hard to do this play well, but we are all in a great place with it and it's getting really enjoyable to do now.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof runs at the Apollo Theatre until 7 October 2017.