English, Rose (8 of 13).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2005-12-08, 2006-02-03, 2006-04-11, 2006-05-08, 2006-06-05,

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home/studio, London

  • Interviewees

    English, Rose, 1950- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dyke, Anna, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 8: [38:07] Endings of each of the four episodes. Bows; only when performing in others’ shows; and later in solo shows in theatres, 1980s. Exhilarated post-performance; wanting to work on the next episode. RE’s role in ‘Quadrille’; exhaustion of making it. One-off shows; in later years would do a run or season. [05:08] Meeting DG. RE performed with DG and HW, before deciding to concentrate on own work. Five year relationship with DG, though didn’t live together. DG and painter Dave Henderson, friends from RCA film school, lodged in Julie Christie’s [JC] house; an ‘Oscar’ on the mantelpiece. DG’s family background; personality. RE and DG going to opening of Biba superstore. DG’s ambition; Arts Council funding for Lumiere & Son. Break-up with DG. [11:49] JC performed in ‘The Gold Diggers’, ‘the Icon’ character. Reason for making ‘Gold Diggers’ as a film; started as a show; success of ‘Thriller’. Different working process; storyboard. Third collaborator LC; knew SP via Feminist Improvising Group [FIG]; London Musicians Collective. Defining separate roles; learning process of filmmaking. Ambition for the film; all-women crew. RE art director; had been earning income from designing and making costumes. Co-writer, art director, assistant editor - taught by Mary Pat Leece [MPL], co-founder of Four Corners. MPL independent filmmaker from U.S; generous character; Four Corners, independent film co-op. MPL had invited SP and RE to talk at screening of ‘Thriller’. [20:37] Narrative about narrative; power of film star; lead actor Collette Laffont. Ambition for the film; a feature, shot in 35mm; not just for arthouse cinemas. Narrative about narrative; references. Poor reception in U.K; too many expectations. Opinion of the film now. Well-received in Europe. RE moved to making solo shows. RE’s relationship with ‘Gold Diggers’; not implicated in its poor reception; it was perceived as SP’s film. Shows that have good and bad reviews; can’t dwell on reviews. Decision to switch to small scale; improvised solo monologues; exhilarating. Not collaborating. Reflects on (three-year) ‘Gold Diggers’ collaboration; shooting the film; compares filmmaking process to a machine. Reflects on the perceived ephemeral nature of performance versus film; vulnerability of projecting a film, eg. ‘Gold Diggers’ cinematography ruined by poor quality print. Learning process; later show ‘The Double Wedding’ about relationship between film and theatre; drawing on ‘Gold Diggers’ experience. Labouring for long time doesn’t always produce better work. [38:07]

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