WITH Greater Manchester Fringe underway, I caught up with actress Victoria Scow and BAFTA award-winning writer and director Anita Pandolfo ahead of their upcoming play Maids of Suburbia…
Sitting in the future venue of the highly anticipated one-woman show, highlighting the community spirit found when times are hard, a sense of excitement ripples through the pair faces as we discuss the origins of this ambitious play.
“It’s about women coming together. We’re not burning bras – that would be difficult as one-woman show”
Originally written in 1995 for the BBC, Maids of Suburbia follows Caroline, a ‘working class made good’ type who enjoys life on a coveted Barrett estate.
However, life is turned upside down following the financial crash, forcing her to return to a council estate where she meets day dreamer Angela.
They then decide to stage a robbery on their own homes and claim the insurance money, marking the beginning of an ambitious play which promises to deliver a hearty community spirit.
Best known for writing hit 90’s TV series ‘Cops’, Pandolfo reveals the play explores new territory for the pair as they strive to prove the true extent of their skills:
“I was put in a stereotype box for my writing and Victoria was because of her looks, so this exercise for both of us is a way of breaking out the box and showing we do more than it says on the tin.”
Scow adds: “I’ve never done a one woman show before so it’s quite a challenge for me as an actor.”
With Maids of Suburbia only containing one cast member, it can be asked just how are these different characters are going to be represented?
Answering that very question, and furthering attempts to break out of that stereotypical box, Scow reveals: “There will be no props or costume changes, its all about skill. They’ll be no half-and–half costumes, it will be vocally and emotionally different to show the different characters”.
“It’s not cosy viewing or writing I do, it’s identifiable and it always has to have an underlining statement in it. That’s just my style, champion of the underdog, that’s me” – Pandolfo
Describing inspiration for the play, the writer and director explains that history has repeated itself as themes have come full circle to becoming relevant today.
“In ’95, we were under the Conservative government, people were struggling. So it’s kind of a ‘women doing it for themselves’ type vibe with that political back drop.”
Not to be confused as an ’in-your-face’ battle revolving around the themes of feminism and politics, but rather a coming together of neighbourly spirit on hard times, Pandolfo explains: “It has political politics but with a ‘small p’.
“‘People politics’ I like to call it, not ‘politicians politics’ and that’s a kind of theme in my work, really.”
You can catch Maids of Suburbia at Salford’s King’s Arms on Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22 July as part of Greater Manchester Fringe, with tickets available here.
By Nathan Smith