Acclaimed Edinburgh actress Polly Frame recalls having to be 'shoved' on stage in her first school play at George Watson's
WHEN Edinburgh actress Polly Frame steps onto the stage of the King's Theatre this week, to star in Frantic Assembly's production of I Think We Are Alone, no stage hand will be required to "shove" her on stage when her cue is uttered.
The actress, whose dad’s family were originally from Leith but was brought up in the New Town, explains, "I went to George Watson’s college for a year where I did my first ‘proper’ play, a production of Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan, directed by a lovely and very patient teacher called Mr Slater.
"It’s actually pretty amazing that I ended up being an actor as all I remember of that experience was being completely terrified and having to be shoved onto the stage by a friend.
"But I think I’d always loved acting, without fully realising that was what I was doing. I didn’t really idolise anyone in film or TV but spent a lot of time in my imagination as a kid. A favourite was making up ghost stories so my story-line in this show is continuing a theme."
An intriguing piece of theatre, I Think We Are Alone interweaves the stories of six characters. Two sisters (Charlotte Bate and Polly Frame) are estranged and bicker over text. Their brittle and aggressive language is pushing them further apart when what they really want is to meet, clear the air and talk about the events that happened when they were young girls and haunt them still.
Josie is not allowing grief to get in the way. All of her focus is on what is best for her son, Manny. She desperately wants him to fly but can she let him go? Meanwhile, there is a person shaped hole in Graham’s heart and it is driving him to some dark places. When a stranger returns an act of kindness both find themselves opening up and connecting in a way that might just bring a bit of light in.
Described as a 'bittersweet and funny take on our ache to connect with those voices we need to hear again, those arms we need to feel around us and those faces we need to see again' the piece is about letting go and holding on to what we love the most.
"I Think We Are Alone is a really intriguing piece," agrees Frame. "Deceptively simple in form, it touches on some pretty big issues which we are discovering by audience responses, seem close to many people’s hearts and experiences. The play follows the narrative strands of six different characters which sometimes intersect with each other in surprising if fleeting ways, but who all need to learn to reach out."
The piece is co-directed by Kathy Burke and Frantic Assembly's Scott Graham, and Frame reveals she has "loved working with them both."
"Even though Frantic have developed a very unique physical language and Kathy is phenomenal with text, character and comedy, they both have an acutely instinctual eye and ear for truth and how to express what makes us human," she explains.
"So, in rehearsals we were driven by both Scott and Kathy to find honest and authentic ways to inhabit and tell this story, through character and physicality. One of the big challenges with this piece was learning how to work with the fabulous set, which provides the eco-skeleton of the worlds, imagined and real, that these characters exist in."
If Frame's face seems familiar, you may have seen her last year, when she returned home to star in Solaris at the Royal Lyceum.
"I honestly couldn’t have felt luckier getting the opportunity to be part of that production and perform at the Lyceum," she beams. "I loved every moment of it. The play was amazing and the team who made it equally so and it was such a treat to get to work back in Edinburgh for a few months. I wish it happened more often."
I Think We Are Alone, King's Theatre, Leven Street, 18-22 February, 7.30pm (Matinees 2.30pm), £18-£33, 0131-529 6000