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An Interview with Maria McKenna and Erica Martin from ‘Ajax’

We sat down with Director, Maria Mckenna and, Producer/Performer, Erica Martin, and had a chat about female warriors and adapting ‘Ajax’ for an all female cast…

‘Ajax’ is about a female warrior, describe her in three words?

Proud, loving, broken.

‘Ajax’ is traditionally a very masculine play – what made you decide to adapt it for an all female cast?

I wanted to adapt this play for women entirely because it is such a traditionally masculine piece. In our time at LAMDA, one of our biggest discoveries was the usefulness of gender-blind casting in classical plays.

Was this an easy transition?

We just needed to decide why this world had only women in it. Since the war they’re fighting has been going on for so long, most men would have been killed off, leaving their legacy to the women. The difficulty would come if we were all women trying to play men but we’re not; we’re playing people.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The most surprising thing is what happens halfway through the play… no spoilers though!

What drew you to The Space?

We’d heard such wonderful things about The Space before visiting it since it’s known for putting on brilliant fringe theatre. Everyone’s been so helpful here through the whole process too.

As an all female company – what do you think are the main obstacles for women in theatre?

The main obstacle is that the stories we’re used to seeing on film and in theatre are generally written from a male perspective. That’s been the norm for so long that anything outside that norm seems less than. It’s important for women to be writing and producing their own stories and creating a space for themselves. The more they do, the more female perspectives will become part of the norm.

If you were a female warrior, what would be your weapon of choice?

I’m such a massive pacifist so I’d prefer none. But I’ve always found archery a very cool pastime, so perhaps a bow and arrow.

 

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