An Interview with Katie Bonna
Hello Katie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I live in London, but I am Midlands through and through and I am currently travelling around the UK with my show All The Things I lied About. We hit Glasgow this week, we’ll be at the Iron on 22nd and 23rd September. I’m bloomin’ thrilled.
When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
I was pretty certain I’d be going into it when I played Supergirl with my sister aged four. I took it so seriously I ended up with a nosebleed from face-planting into our bedroom wall. I was so convinced I could fly.
As an actress, what are the secrets to a good performance?
Before every show I have to do two things. The first is to remind myself that I have never said anything I’m about to say before and the second is to mainline Beyonce. Freedom and Formation are my two favourite songs right now.
You’ve been washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered DVD player & three films. Which would they be?
Harold & Maude for sure, I love that film. I’m not really a film person, though. I try to be because it feels more cultured but I generally prefer TV. I’d take all of Girls and the complete Alan Partridge as well as Harold & Maude.
What does Katie Bonna like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
I love London. Walking round it, visiting obscure little places, eating all the delicious food! I read a lot, I generally have three books on the go at any one time. I’m reading a glorious book set in NYC in the 70s right now, a sort of sprawling, Dickenson, multi-story wonderland by Garth Risk Hallberg. And I’m a massive yoga-addict. I practice every day and have to find a local yoga studio if I travel with my work.
You are just commencing a national tour of ALL THE THINGS I LIED ABOUT. Can you tell us about the play?
It’s part TED talk, part brutal, personal confession. It’s a comic exploration of how the little lies we tell every day have led us to a world of Trump and Brexit.
You have both written & are starring in the play. What does it feel like to be so immersed in a piece of theatre?
It’s a lot more intense than acting in someone else’s project. I used to get stressed about doing acting jobs, but they feel like a walk in park after performing my own work! I do enjoy it, though, and the sense of satisfaction when you really connect to an audience is incomparable.
You performed the play at Paines Plough Roundabout & Edinburgh’s Summerhall last year. What have you tweaked in the interim, either stagecraftwise or writingwise?
I’ve changed a lot actually. The heart of the show is exactly the same but I think it’s more well-rounded and crafted now in terms of the script. In terms of staging, we’ve had to move it from in-the-round to end-on. That’s been a big shift, but I think we’ve made it work well.
What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
I don’t expect anything. Some people have a strong emotional response, especially if they have had similar experiences in their life or can relate to the subject matter in other ways, but I don’t expect anything from the audience per se. Everyone reacts differently, don’t they? That’s the beauty of it for me.
What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Katie Bonna?
I have just received funding to develop my new show, which is as yet untitled! I’m working with Live Theatre Newcastle to make it. It’s a three-hander about gender-conditioning, self-censorship in women and the complexities of 21st century feminism. It’s inspired by the classical Greek chorus and my love of Marilyn Monroe. It will be a lot of fun. The rest of the year will be spent on that and drafting a novel that I’m writing for young adults. I’m super excited about both of those things!
All The Things I Lied About is now on tour:
16/09/17 HighTide Festival, Aldeburgh
20/09/17 Norwich Arts Centre
22/09/17 & 23/09/17 Tron Theatre, Glasgow
25/09/17 Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
27/09/17 The Stahl Theatre, Oundle
28/09/17 North Wall, Oxford
29/09/17 Dixon Studio, Southend
30/09/17 Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
02/10/17 – 07/10/17 Bike Shed, Exeter
12/10/17 The Riverfront, Newport
13/10/17 & 14/10/17 The Edge, Manchester
16/10/17 The Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth
17/10/17 & 18/10/17 Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham