SUITS YOU, SIR!
By Savanna MyszkaFor people who are new to The Dresser, how would you describe your respective characters? Matthew: ‘Sir’ is part of a touring Shakespearean company in 1942 and the play is based on a real actor called Sir Donald Wolfit. He spent most of his life touring the provinces and taking Shakespeare to the nation, which he really believed in. He was an old-school barnstorming actor and they’d do Othello one afternoon, Richard III in the evening, then King Lear the next day. With ‘Sir’ in the play, we’re seeing him at the end of his career. He’s a knackered old has-been. Julian: Ronald Harwood, who wrote the play, was Sir Donald Wolfit’s dresser for a while. In the play the dresser is called Norman and is quite a complex character. He is the dresser for ‘Sir’, so he’s in a servile position but he’s also very bright and thinks he’s running the ship in a way, as dressers often do. They chivvy everything along but they don’t have obvious authority, it’s more subtle. Matthew: Norman is the one who holds ‘Sir’ together and actually holds everybody together, with the maxim of ‘The show must go on’. The play is really about Norman. It’s about the unsung, little people.
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