Sophie Hambleton

Sophie Hambleton.
Sophie Hambleton talks about developing the character of Kate, a 19-year girl living with Cerebra

Share

Sophie Hambleton talks about developing the character of Kate, a 19-year girl living with Cerebral Palsy, in The Playground Collective's production of Katydid.

After winning the Embassy Trust Prize, this new piece of New Zealand drama has its premier season at BATS theatre from August 18 – 28.

Sophie Hambleton talks about developing the character of Kate, a 19-year girl living with Cerebral Palsy, in The Playground Collective's production of Katydid.

After winning the Embassy Trust Prize, this new piece of New Zealand drama has its premier season at BATS theatre from August 18 – 28.

Playwright Lucy O’Brien wrote Katydid whist studying for her MA in Scriptwriting at Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters. She was motivated by her own experience of growing up with a sister with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Although not directly related to her own story, O’Brien has produced a play that rejects the notion of a ‘universal’ experience of living with a disability. Instead, she paints a portrait of a mistreated – and sometimes manipulative – young woman, whose family life is fraught with pain and controversy, yet imbued with a dark sense of humour.

When were you first offered the role of Kate?

Charlotte Bradley and Lucy O'Brien approached me about the idea of me playing the role. Once I had read the script, I was sold on the character.

What are some of the challenges you face playing the role of Kate?

Physically, it's incredibly demanding. The biggest challenge is maintaining Kate's physicality from beginning to end. I'm very aware of the importance of giving an honest and accurate portrayal of Cerebral Palsy - it would be all too easy to dilute it. It's mentally taxing, too, to be so aware of my body at all times, and the restrictions I must place on my own body language create other interesting challenges in how I express myself. 

While doing research for the part, did you meet up with people living with Cerebral Palsy?

Yes, I met some amazing people, who are of a similar age to myself. I also met with caregivers, physical therapists and parents. They were all incredibly open and helpful in helping me to understand life with cerebral palsy, and offered me invaluable insight into some of the challenges they've experienced in the past, and the challenges they face daily.

Tell us a bit about the character of Kate.

She's imaginative and a romantic. She is a young woman with a ferocious curiosity and a desire for excitement and action. She is fiercely intelligent but naive, immature and inexperienced in the real world. She is, however, sharp, witty and surprisingly in tune with the people around her. Most of all, she's looking for love - in whatever form that may take.

How do you feel about certain scenes where you have to appear nude?

I don't have any issues. There's always a certain degree of nervousness that goes with it, but it's part of the job so I'll get over it! Plus, I'm not the only actor who appears naked in the show....

Do the other performers, who play able-bodied characters, need to give you a certain amount of space and time in order to flesh-out this character?

Of course, everybody around those who actually have Cerebral Palsy have to make allowances, have to be patient and tolerant. The rest of the cast haven't given me 'special treatment', but we've all been incredibly supportive of one another to create this new, complex production. We have an amazing team. 

Katydid
Written by Lucy O'Brien, Directed by Charlotte Bradley, Produced by Eleanor Bishop
Playground Collective

Featuring: Sophie Hambleton, Rachel More, Robert Tripe and Ralph McCubbin-Howell.

Date: 18 – 28 August Venue: BATS
Tickets: $20 full / $14 concession / $18 groups 6
Wheelchair access available Time: 7.30pm
Tickets available from BATS book@bats.co.nz, 04 8024175 

Written by

Josephine O'Sullivan

23 Aug 2010