The BGT English Theatre Company has announced that it will be putting on its next show, "Di and Viv and Rose", at Neumünster Abbey (neimënster) in Luxembourg-Grund from 29 September to 1 October 2022.
"Di and Viv and Rose" is BGT’s latest annual English-language showcase play for trainee actors. It follows performances of "Wolves Are Coming For You" (2019), "David’s RedHaired Death" (2020) and "The Road to Huntsville" (2021), all of which formed part of this project, the focus of which has since shifted towards showcasing local female talent.
Annual showcase play: then and now
As Tony Kingston, director and BGT co-founder, explained to Chronicle.lu, the project "has developed in different ways each year". He noted that for the first show, "Wolves Are Coming For You", the emphasis was "less on the 'women centre stage' aspect - although that was part of it - as opposed to encouraging trainee professionals to get exposure". Over the years, both the project specifically and the BGT in general have developed this focus on putting women centre stage, an aspect which "has become the driving motivation now for [BGT]".
Tony also reflected on how participants have progressed in the field since taking part in the project, with some having gone on to drama school abroad. One example is Céline Planata, who plays Viv in this new show and previously performed in "Wolves Are Coming For You": Céline is currently enrolled at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and Los Angeles.
Commenting on her experience on the first showcase play in 2019, Céline told Chronicle.lu: "I got to be really challenged because I got to play so many different characters. [...] I definitely took that with me when I started studying in the [United] States – I can really start from square one with a character". Regarding her involvement in this new show, she said: "I definitely wanted to come back because the project is important and I like working with everyone here, and getting a new challenge in another three-woman show, which I think is great because you get to experience such a big shift within the characters in the play".
Lina Peller, who plays Rose and also has previous experience on the project, agreed with this sentiment, noting: "It's been very helpful because we get to challenge ourselves. Tony always makes sure we get to play characters that are a bit more challenging, and we are learning new things. I’m very grateful for that".
For Rachel Kathryn Lloyd, who plays Di and has taken part in other BGT plays (although this is her first annual showcase play), the project has proven valuable so far for "how in-depth you can go into the characters themselves". She elaborated: "With plays that have bigger casts, it's a lot more difficult. [In this play] you can take the time and really study the characters themselves and how they react to certain situations".
Ferelith Kingston, who is assistant director on "Di and Viv and Rose" and has worked on previous BGT shows, such as "The Road to Huntsville", added: "Each different project brings up new challenges and through working through those challenges, you learn more about yourself as a director and an artist, and how to work with different people and different scenarios". She also valued the "fact that the project is designed to give you the time to work through these things and to really develop the characters and the story and these relationships".
Di and Viv and Rose
Based on Amelia Bullmore’s bittersweet comedy of the same name, "Di and Viv and Rose" follows the intertwined lives and friendship of three women from their late teens into their early 40s.
Aged eighteen, Di, Viv and Rose meet each other during their first term at university. In many ways, the young women are very different, but they become close friends. As time goes on, life throws unexpected obstacles at them, leaving them to deal with both happiness and tragedy, as well as the consequences of their individual decisions on the others.
Tony explained that a BGT founding member had sent him the play in February 2022, around the time he was deciding which play to choose for this year's project. He found it to be "a quite unusual" piece in that it was "quite gentle and very specifically about women and their relationships, […] how their friendships affect their lives and how time and life affects their friendships". He also appreciated the "time shift element", as the play follows the women chronologically throughout their adult lives. "As they get older, you see the changes and that's quite a challenge for the actresses, to implement those changes gradually and then suddenly", Tony explained.
Rachel Kathryn Lloyd (Di) has been involved in various English-language theatre productions in Luxembourg since moving here in 2011. She has worked on several BGT shows in various capacities, including "A Christmas Carol" in 2016, "Best of Men, Worst of Men" in 2020, "The Coronavirus Chronicles" in 2021 and "We Happy Few" in 2021. "Di and Viv and Rose" is her first BGT annual showcase play. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts and Humanities in Creative Writing and Music and a "Première Mention" with distinction in Opera at the Conservatoire de Luxembourg. She is currently studying at the University of Amsterdam.
Céline Planata (Viv) is a Luxembourgish-American actress who has worked on pieces ranging from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" to the contemporary play "Permanent Collection". She previously appeared in BGT's first annual showcase play "Wolves Are Coming For You" as well as in two other BGT productions: "The Last Word in Murder" and "Picnic at Hanging Rock". Céline is currently studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and Los Angeles.
Lina Peller (Rose) is a Luxembourgish actress who is currently working in Munich, having graduated in Drama and Sociology from the Ludwig Maximilian University there. She has experience in acting, improvisation and diction, having taken classes in these areas at the Conservatoire de Luxembourg, as well as operating and design experience owing to an internship in Munich. Lina designed the first BGT summer showcase project, "Wolves Are Coming For You", and returned to the stage the following year to co-star in "David’s Redhaired Death". In 2021, she performed the one-woman show "The Road to Huntsville", also as part of this BGT project.
Performances of "Di and Viv and Rose" are scheduled to take place in Salle José Ensch in neimënster on Thursday 29 September, Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October 2022 at 19:30.
Tickets cost €20 (€12 for students) and are available online at www.neimenster.lu.