Recently, theatre director Emma Rice sat down to talk with The Observer about her new production of Angela Carter’s final novel, Wise Children, which opens at London’s Old Vic this autumn. In the interview, Rice talks about her controversial departure from The Globe, her love of Angela Carter’s work, and the need for reinvention. Here is a brief excerpt:
“I love Angela Carter,” says Rice, who sees Wise Children as Carter’s “love letter to the theatre”. In the same breath, though, it needs to be said that Carter had a love/hate relationship with acting. She shuddered at “that dreadful spectacle of painted loons in the middle distance making fools of themselves”. Yet in Wise Children, she revels in thespian survival. The joy is in the calculated freedom of the prose – its déshabillé. Characters are frequently discovered in the altogether or in silk undies. Tawdry chorus girls, in their 70s, “can still lift a leg higher than your average dog”. Carter sums up the chaos of the touring life in a sentence: “greasepaint, gaslight, horseshit, coal smoke, railways – change at Crewe on Sundays”.