Interview by Jayson Winters with Director Barry Thompson
A story about family, it shines a light on her parents’ caring for their disabled daughter, affectionately nicknamed “Joe Egg”, and how they live using wild wry humour to keep the family together. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this vitally important story will pierce your heart one moment, and fill it with warmth the next.
With its courageous humour and astonishing honesty, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is coming to The Place, Bedford, 24th – 28th May 2022.
(This play was written in 1967 and contains language that some may now find offensive.)
What drew you to this particular play?
Well I think first and foremost, despite some of its content, it is a play about love. In all its different forms and meanings. It asks about the quality of life, who is more trapped? Is it Joe? Is it Sheila? Is it Bri? Is it Freddie expounding his views all the time? I like the way the play offers up a myriad of questions, all of which can have different answers.
How do you feel Joe Egg is still relevant to today’s audience?
The themes are timeless. It reminds us of a more optimistic age. We can have an optimistic reading of the end of the play if Bri returns, or does he escape? Throughout the play what you learn is that every time the adults argue, Joe does something and everyone starts to become human again.
Tell about how you and that character have developed over the rehearsal process.
Well, I am not a musician, but approach a play like a conductor. Showing the actors the dots, how to play the dots, and the music is up to them I think..
We start with the text, and try to get it learned as soon as possible. Think about what the other person is saying and respond accordingly.
It is a hugely complicated play and uses a number of theatrical devices to clarify its message.
What can audiences expect from this production?
I hope that they will first of all be entertained by our excellent cast. Then I hope that they will recall some of the salient moments, and how that has, or hasn’t changed over the decades. I want them to enjoy the various styles of theatre through the play, and the demand of asking it (the audience) to suspend its disbelief.
” I have admired this thought provoking play since I first saw it about twenty years ago so I was thrilled to be cast in the role of Sheila. As a mother myself, imagining the position of this character as a full time carer for her 12 year old daughter produces a very strong emotional response. What I love about this play is how the outrageous comedy highlights the tragedy of the situation. The way the parents react to each other and their child shows the complexities of all relationships so truthfully. I am thrilled to be working with Barry as director (for the first time since I was in the sixth form!) and with a fantastic cast.”Lissy Malt (plays Sheila in the production):
Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. It’s caused by a problem with the brain that develops before, during or soon after birth.
For more information, and for help and advice, visit the following links: