Interview with Belinda Lang, Leading Lady, in Tom Kempinski’s Play, ‘Duet for One’.

Interview with Belinda Lang, Leading Lady, in Tom Kempinski’s Play, ‘Duet for One’.

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Belinda Lang is well known for her performance as Liza in the ITV Sitcom, ‘Second Thoughts’, the BBC Series, as Bill Porter, in ‘ 2point4Children’ with Gary Olsen, ‘The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries and for her guest appearances in ‘Midsomer Murders’.
She has made frequent stage appearances and starred in Noel Coward’s ‘Present Laughter’, ‘Blithe Spirit’ , ‘Hay Fever’ and Alan Bennett’s ‘Single Spies’. This year, for the first time, she starred in a musical, ‘Oklahoma!’  as Aunt Eller, which she enjoyed very much.
Belinda is a true Londoner, born in Marylebone, lives in Notting Hill and loves being near the Park.
She told me Richmond Theatre is a favourite of hers and agreed it has a strong community spirit and a lovely setting.
She has been on the Board of the Ladies’ Theatrical Guild ( now the Theatrical Guild’ ) for many years. It is a charity which supports people who work backstage and front of house.
We discussed Noel Coward, whom she admires hugely and finds his exploration of human character and behaviour fascinating.
I understand Belinda comes from a long line actors, her parents were Jeremy Hawk and Joan Neal, and she is married to Hugh Fraser. They have a daughter, Lily.
Belinda is replacing Jemma Redgrave in ‘Duet for One’. When asked if it was difficult coming in at a late stage, she admitted it was hard work as there are only two characters in this play, but she remarked that it was easy to arrange rehearsals with only one person!
During a discussion about the play, Belinda said it is not heavy, but actually funny and is about reaction to a situation, where one’s identity is threatened, more than about triumph of the human spirit and hope. She thought any connection to the story of Jacqueline Du Pres was merely an echo.
The Play, ‘Duet For One’ is Kempinski’s most famous play, it was much acclaimed in London and New York City in the 1980’s, and it is often revived. A prolific playwright, Kempinski had personal experience of psychotherapy. This was the first play to use psycho-analysis procedure for theatre.
It portrays how a celebrated concert violinist, Stephanie Abrahams  reacts to her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis which means the end of her career. It reveals the six consecutive sessions with her psychiatrist, Dr Feldmann, played by Oliver Cotton. The audience sees her moving from optimism to depression and even the brink of suicide. She is married to the famous composer, David Lieberman, but he does not appear. Dr. Feldmann uses various techniques and the audience learns much about psychoanalysis. Tensions build up as he talks of the purpose of life and urges her to find a different meaning for hers. She gains sympathy from the audience  from the sessions and he gains their respect.
The mind of an artist is fully explored in this exceptional play. Stephanie refers to music saying,
“……..Music, Dr Feldmann ,is  the purest expression of humanity that there is. Because, you see it’s magic; but real magic, true mystery not trickery…….you see there’s no god, Dr Feldmann, but I know where they got that idea, they got it from music. It’s a kind of heave. It’s unearthly, it lifts you out of life into another place…….”
These words have a dramatic and moving effect on the audience.
This play, with its rich material  and characters, directed by Robin Lefevre, presented by Lee Dean and Daniel Schumann , in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre has magic.
Marian Maitland.
Evenings 7.30 pm
Matinees Wed and Sat.
Info on concessions and discounts:
 Box Office. 0844 871 7651
Booking:
ATG tickets. 0844 871 7651
Richmond Theatre.
23rd October 2017 to 28th October. 2017.
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