Arts + Culture » Theatre

Heroine effort

Local actor and playwright Karen Bassett pulls out all the fisticuffs for her new production.


The question of what makes a hero(ine) is something local actor and playwright Karen Bassett (pictured, left) has asked herself for years. “I saw a play about male pirates”---with male characters playing the rebellion and adventure---“and the female roles were all about relationships,” says Bassett. “I thought: That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? Then I thought: Sustaining a relationship is pretty heroic.” Add that to a sword-fighting fascination and a son who was really into pirates, and Bassett found her way to writing and acting the story of Irish-American pirate Ann Bonny (Francine Deschepper, pictured, right) and British cavalry leader Mary Read (Bassett), and the time they spend together while awaiting execution for crimes of piracy and male impersonation. Both Bassett and Deschepper trained with fight director Robert Seale for the play’s sword-fighting scenes, and while Bassett isn’t a stranger to physical theatre she says sword fighting isn’t all swashbuckling excitement. “There’s a deftness to it you wouldn’t expect,” says Bassett, who practises daily. You only have four days to see the show, so catch a ride to The Bus Stop soon.

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