Pitcairn by Richard Bean – Interviews with cast members and creative team


[Sailors sing]: #We’re bound for our Tahiti, all away you rolling king…. [Max Stafford-Clark, director] Well Richard’s play begins when the films finish that is to say with the burning of The Bounty and it covers the seventeen years between the islanders arriving in Pitcairn and their being rediscovered by the Navy. I think Oscar Wilde said that “no map of the world is worth looking at without a picture of Utopia”. And Fletcher Christian obviously thought he could establish a utopia but the generic racism and sexism that was inherent in the 18th Century turned it into a kind of dystopia. [Tom Morley] My name is Tom Morley and I play Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutiny He starts by getting rid of any kind of hierarchy so imposing a form of levelling and everything kind of kicks off from there. [Siubhan Harrison] I’m playing Mi Mitti and I am the queen of… [Tom] Pitcairn!
[Siubhan] Pitcairn, I guess! Throughout the course of the play she makes certain discoveries about her husband so then we get another love story and a big betrayal/ of the community that we’ve set up
[Tom] Yeah, kind of a civil war evolves on the island…. [Tom] There will be blood.
[Siubhan] Yeah! [Max] It was an extraordinary untold story which Richard had extraordinarily, deftly turned into a drama. [Richard Bean, writer] It’s always been a little bit of an obsession for me, islands and utopia so when Max came to me and said “read this book, read these books, how about a play about Pitcairn?” I was a sucker for it really. [Max] Richard was a stand-up comedian and nothing he writes is ever not funny. [Siubhan] I think when we read the play, first of all, that the comedy came out much more and it was wonderful to hear all the different voices. [Max] I think what the theatre does wonderfully is tell stories that recycle our own history to us and this is a gap in history which this play fills. [Richard] I think it’s got a lot to teach us about how we can live together as human beings We have limited space and we all have to share it and you can’t get a better example of limited space and having to share it than Pitcairn Island two miles by one mile and there are some lessons to be learned from “don’t behave like they did!” *laughter* [Shanty] #All the way, all the way you’ll hear me sing (yah!) #We are bound for our Tahiti….

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