Donna Cormack-Thomson will soon star in the play White Whore and the Bit Player at the Alexander Bar Theatre. We spoke to her about this, her first professional show and the world of theatre. Book your tickets here.
Q1: How does it feel to be in your first professional show?
Having just finished my Theatre and Performance degree last year, I was extremely honoured to have been asked to do a production directed by Christopher Weare, along side Jazzara Jaslyn, as my first professional show. And the text is exceptional, an actors dream. It’s both exciting and absolutely nerve-racking.
Q2: Tell us a bit about your character/s?
Jazz and I perform two sides of the same character, which is based on classic icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. I play the ‘whore’ side of her, which is how she believed the world saw her, and Jazz plays the ‘nun’ side of her, which is how she imagined herself to be, but we switch between the two sides throughout the play. I think she embodies many things, fragility, defiance, sensuality, and ultimately how ‘Hollywood’ can twist and taint you until you don’t know who you are anymore.
Q3: What drew you to the project?
I’ve always wanted to play a classic 50s icon. And I love the fact that although her story is tragic, the play is a dark comedy. Also I have never worked with Chris or Jazz before, and I have always wanted to, so that was a major factor in being drawn to the project.
Q4: What message do you hope people will take away from the show?
The play really highlights the objectification of women in the film industry, something I believe is still very relevant today. It tells the story of how a young, innocent girl was molded into a sex symbol. I say molded because, as we discover in the play, she really had very little choice as to what she would become. Actors are often desperate and at the mercy of those who can give them work, with very little agency as to what roles they play. The story also shows how warped the stories we are fed by the media often are, and sheds some light on the reality of what Marilyn and Jean’s lives were actually like. I hope the audience will walk away with a new perspective on the hardships of women in the industry, and a new scepticism about what the media tells us about our icons today.