Handbagged by Moira Buffini

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

Marie Cooper perfomed as the younger Margaret Thatcher, ‘Mags’, in Handbagged, performed at Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, 11 October to 20 October 2018


The fantastic photographs for Handbagged were taken during the dress rehearsal by Sean Owen of Reflective Arts

The bad thing (and good thing – I hate seeing and/or hearing myself) about theatre is  that you never get to see the play. Especially for Handbagged, as our entire cast were on the stage for almost the entire duration of the play…and yes, this was a worry if nature called.

This was my absolute favourite role so far by miles, one of my proudest achievements and most challenging, as it was the first time I’d attempted to portray someone who actually existed. The play also the most lines I had had to learn at that time as well as the most time I had needed to be on stage for. Both Mrs Thatchers and the Queens are on the stage for all but a few minutes of the play. I have written further reflections about the show on my blog which also includes reviews of Handbagged.

The pressure was on as I didn’t have much time to prepare. The person who was originally cast dropped out just before rehearsals began, so I didn’t have anywhere near as much time to prepare as I would have done had I got the role just after auditions. It was a race against time to research and learn lines, whilst simultaneously rehearsing. Thankfully I had, that very morning, completed and handed in the last course work of my MA so I knew I would have the time to invest into the role.

Mrs Thatcher was most definitely not someone I shared the politics of. Yet it was a little disturbing (and helpful) during my research, to find that the ‘Milk Snatcher’ and I did, surprisingly, have some things in common, other than being female.  We both studied for a degree in Chemistry and contained the resilience and perservance to stand up and fight for what we want and believe in, to not let anyone stand in our way of what we aim to acheive.

Directed by Clare Williamson

Cast:

Alexandra Evans – Mrs T
Marie Cooper – Mags
Mandy Kiley – Liz
Gill Tichbourne – Q

Kevin Olreich
Denis Thatcher, Peter Carrington, Gerry Adams, Ronald Reagan,
Michael Heseltine, Arthur Scargill, Rupert Murdoch, Geoffrey Howe
and Prince Phillip.

Will Harragan
Palace Footman, Kenneth Kaunda, Nancy Reagan, Enoch Powell,
Michael Shea, Neil Kinnock, Kenneth Clarke, and a Protester.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *