A blog with balls

Posted by S Jack 30th March 2016

What brings a play to life? Many people are involved, from the original conception of an idea until it bursts forth onto the stage, the actors as nurturers of the writer’s words, giving them a chance to grow and develop as they head out into the world.

Our own labour of love, Girls with Balls, begins a UK tour on 12 April and final rehearsals are underway. This is a newborn play – new characters with new words to say, as well as looking at real-life events from the successful Dick, Kerr Ladies and 1921 when the Football Association banned women from playing at FA-affiliated grounds.

Each of our four actors takes on two roles: one set in 2016 and one based on a real person from 1921.  In our first  blog with Balls, we asked our actors about their take on their characters and the play’s themes.

Daisy Morris is playing Ashley Cohen (2016) and Lily Parr (1921). Daisy  is a Physical Theatre graduate of East 15 Acting School and has performed at Theatre’503, London and on the streets of Paris, London and Spain in a red nose.

“I am really developing a fondness for my characters, – the thick skin and no bullshit of Lily Parr, and the child like energy, silliness and sensitivity of Ashley. I’ve found many similarities in the characters, but overall they have differences that contrast nicely.

I am particularly excited about taking Lily on stage, I love her Lancashire accent and in a 1920s factory dress and cap, what’s not to look forward to?

I’ve been going over my lines every day, everywhere. I’m sure I’ve looked quite crazy on my walks to work saying ‘I’d loike a clotter his secretary’. I’ve found I’ve naturally learnt so many of the other characters’ lines as so much of it is call and response.

Rehearsal l-r Ellen-Gayle Harewood, Roslyn Paterson, Daisy Morris, Guy Evans
l-r Ellen-Gayle Harewood, Roslyn Paterson, Daisy Morris, Guy Evans

My views on Lily have changed quite a lot since first reading the script and now. I saw her initially as quite shy and, well, a bit dumb. I read how Lily was and it made an impression on me, so she must have made an impression on people in real life.  She was tough, and a bit loud-mouthed. I like that. I think she grew up in a big family, surrounded my noise and children, she was possibly quite lonely. But I don’t think she minded. Lily to me is someone who just gets on with it. If she has something to say, especially if she is passionate about it, she will say it.

Ashely has also changed massively for me. She’s tougher than I thought, though she has a more sensitive side to her than Lily. She’s also more mature (on paper); I hadn’t appreciated the fact she is studying, has a child, is a single mum and just gets on with it, because I was more focused on the times she comes across naive and childish. Which isn’t a bad thing, I like the young side in Ashley that comes out occasionally, it’s sincere.

It would be nice to know the audience will learn a chunk of history that most people (myself included before the audition), have no idea about. I think it’s an important part of history. It makes me wonder how incredible the skill would now be, in women footballers, in fact any sport that women have been told they shouldn’t play or can’t play, had they not been banned or deterred.”

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