30 April, 2010


HOST: Let’s think about you as a filmstar. Was it
an easy part for you, Miranda (in Derek Jarman's
"The Tempest"), because you come over incredibly
lush and very provocative.

TOYAH: I think the hardest thing was handling Shakespeare. It’s something I’ve never had to experience before and that’s the reason I so much wanted to do it. It’s the challenge. No, I treated Miranda as a child who is un - (strugglers with word) … unpolluted with society, fashions and how little ladies should behave. I just treated her like something tribal.

HOST: Of course the quote that we do remember is “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” (To Derek Jarman, below) What do you think the play is about?

DEREK JARMAN: What’s wonderful about The Tempest it’s a sort of mirror of whoever wants to look at it. And you can read so many things into it.

HOST: Where have you set it?

DEREK: Well, we set it in Stoney Abbey. One of the problems is that normally people have thought of making a film on a luscious island like Bali or somewhere like this, underneath the palm front. But in fact I sort of thought we should have an island as a mind so we made Stoney Abbey, which is a vast and derelict house near Coventry, into the island.

And like a sort of big sea of Chinese boxes, you know - room after room after room, you never quite know where you are. And Prospero is somewhere in the middle of it all.

HOST: What was it like filming? Was it very kind of cold? Because you’ve been at it last winter -

TOYAH: Oh, it was exciting! The whole thing was – everyone worked as a team, the atmosphere was fabulous and as Derek said you kept walking into a different room wondering where the hell you were!

It was like going from time dimension to time dimension. It was just incredibly exciting. I think the chill of the weather just added to the atmosphere, it was so mystical, it was so wow … Electric.

HOST: Prospero is played by Heathcote Williams, what about Caliban, how would you dare describe him?

TOYAH: I think as Miranda I’d describe as a poor little mute that I feel incredibly sorry for, I think he’s my ugly pet. Pat him on the head and slap him round the face when he gets out of hand.

HOST: Of course some people might say, aah we can recognise this as Derek Jarman because he had that quality he brought to the devil. There are scenes in it which are incredibly frightening. Do you think that you use the surreal aspects of the visual?

DEREK: Yes, I think so. I mean I tried to do this, I tried not to actually illustrate the poetry because the poetry has got a lot of magic in and I thought if you try and illustrate it it will just lessen it.

So what we’ve tried to do is sort of come into the whole bay of bleakness and aspects of things are not quite what you would expect. I hope that all the way through the … there are little things happening that you’re not quite prepared for

HOST: Well, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the ending. I didn’t think we’ll give it away (Toyah and Derek chuckle) because it’s a visual extravaganza, but can you try and tell me why you brought in the sailors?

DEREK: Well, I thought, it’s said, "go and fetch the sailors!" in the play so I fetched them. I mean it’s in the – you know it’s there in the play so I bought them in at the end.

And it seems to me that a play like that had to end in some sort of celebration. And I wanted to re-enforce that so I brought in the sailors and I brought in Elisabeth Welch.

HOST: The very best of luck with it, both of you. It opens this Thursday, May the 1st. Derek Jarman’s "The Tempest." Go and see it.


You also listen to the interview HERE


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