The Freud Museum

Events Archive

26 February 2012

The Graving Tool

Harriet Walter in conversation with Timberlake Wertenbaker

This year playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker isWriter in Residence at the Freud Museum, generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Timberlake is organising The Graving Tool, a series of conversations between herself and leading theatre practitioners probing how they create complex characters. These conversations will take place on Sunday evenings in January/February 2012 at the Freud Museum. Timberlake will ask how actors and directors explore the physical and mental makeup of a character on stage. How does an actor enter into the psychology of a character, particularly in a new play? What physical manifestation, including habits or tics do they come up with and how is this used in the performance? What do they read, particularly when acting a disturbed character? Where do they find this in themselves? How are actors affected by the personalities they inhabit?

Harriet Walter has enjoyed a varied and distinguished career on stage screen and radio spanning 30 years. She is an associate artist of the RSC where she has played most roles from Viola and Beatrice to Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra as well as regularly appearing with the NT. For The Royal Court she played Ophelia to Jonathan Pryce's Hamlet, The Seagull and Timberlake Wertenbaker's Three Birds Alighting on a Field which transferred to the Manhattan Theatre Club. For the Hampstead Theatre she appeared in Maguerite Duras 's La Musica , Stephen Poliakoff's Sweet Panic and Tamsin Oglesby's US and Them. She received the Olivier award for Twelfth Night and Three Sisters and the Evening Standard award and a Tony nomination for her role as Elizabeth 1 in the Donmar's production of Mary Stuart. Her films include The Wedding Video (to be released this year)Young Victoria, Sense and Sensibility, Atonement and Babel. On television she is best known as Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, The Price, The Men’s Room, Little Dorritt and Law and Order:UK . She is the author of Other People’s Shoes, Macbeth; portrait of a Marriage (for Faber series Actors on Shakespeare) and Facing It.

Timberlake Wertenbaker is an acclaimed and prolific playwright whose works have been performed and studied all over the world. Her play Our Country’s Good is an A level text and won the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year award in 1988. She is also a translator, translating and adapting plays for performance from French (examples include Marivaux’s False Admissions, Anouilh’s Wild Orchids and Racine’s Phedre) and from classical Greek (examples include Sophocles Elektra and Euripides Hippolytus.) Her recent translation of Racine’s Britannicus received rapturous reviews at Wilton’s Music Hall.

She is using her residency at the Freud Museum to complete her latest play, The Suicide of Colonel A. Ajax inspired by Sophocles’ Ajax.

08 January 2012 - Michael Pennington in conversation with Philip Franks, chaired by Timberlake Wertenbaker

22 January 2012 - Sian Thomas in conversation with Timberlake Wertenbaker

26 February 2012 - Harriet Walter in conversation with Timberlake Wertenbaker


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