We chatted to Julie about Miss Margarida’s Way, playing at the Drayton Arms Theatre until the 9th October.

Hi Julie, could you explain what  Roberto Athayde’s play is about? On return from studying abroad, Robert Athayde wrote the play, Miss Margarida’s Way in 1971 as his  response  to the dictatorship in his country,  Brazil ,at that time. Miss Margarida is a teacher, who demands total obedience, who cajoles, and cheats, contradicts and shocks her audience/students into submission.  She whirls around the stage, talking incessantly as she throws out her ideas: some hilarious, others outrageous and some we may well recognize. And in this production there are two Miss Margarida’s interplaying throughout which adds to her many  facets.

How does it feel to be bringing the play to the stage? Our production was scheduled for last year but lockdown meant rehearsals continued  via zoom and then my back garden when the weather improved. There were times we wondered if it would ever see the light of day . So finally to see the production on stage,  first at Etcetera Theatre,  with lighting and music and audiences has been wonderful. And the very positive response.

What made you want to revive Miss Margarida’s Way? Miss Margarida’s Way takes a look at power dynamics: how dictatorships work and survive. Though challenging, it has a lightness to it. Originally written  as a monologue, I chose to use two stunning actors from my company 5Go Theatre Co.,  to  play the main character and which really adds to the many facets  of Miss Margarida’s character.

How did you first discover the play? Following our production of The Bald Prima Donna, I was looking for an equally challenging play to follow up. I read several, but  Roberto’s play  really excited me. It’s brilliantly written and filled with the joy of language. Its a full length play and I wasn’t sure about producing it in the original monologue version .But I then  realised I had two perfect actors for the part and we played around the idea of splitting the monologue  between the two. It has paid off well , I think, due to the commitment and professionalism  of Hanna and Leena.

What can audiences expect from this production? Audiences can expect surprises, maybe a little shock at some of the language, perhaps uncertainty as Miss Margarida throws a tantrum , and laughter too at some absurdity. You certain have to pay attention to Ms Margarida!

By Emma Clarendon

Miss Margarida’s Way continues to play at the Drayton Arms Theatre until the 9th October.