Our latest Wales Millennium Centre production, Es & Flo, opened last week to incredible reviews, with South Wales Life declaring it "unmissable."
This sharply observed new play by Jennifer Lunn celebrates the love of an older lesbian relationship, women coming together to fight for what’s right, and the healing power of chosen family.
Watch our new trailer to see what people have been saying so far...
Leading the cast of five intergenerational female characters, who range in age from eight to 71, are Doreene Blackstock (Netflix’s Sex Education, Sky’s The Colour Room) and Liz Crowther (National Theatre’s Animal Farm).
We caught up with them both to find out more about their characters.
Can you introduce us to the characters of Es and Flo?
Liz: Es and Flo are an older interracial lesbian couple who’ve been together for forty years and who have a close, loving, passionate relationship. They both had interesting jobs - Flo was a librarian and Es, who I play, was a teacher. Before they met, Es was married to a man and had a son - but she’s kept her relationship with Flo from him. When we first see Es in the play, we realise that she’s showing signs of dementia and, before long, someone arrives at their door – which starts an unravelling of their situation and an explosion of secrets.
Doreene: I play the role of Flo – she’s an incredible character - fiery and passionate – and, above all, she really cares. She met Es at the Greenham Common Peace Camp in the 80s, and she still has that activism in her to fight for what is right and what she believes in. She loves her life and loves Es deeply, but their relationship has been complicated by Section 28 which, as Es’ health deteriorates, makes their situation incredibly difficult.
What drew you to the role?
Doreene: It was a queer story that I could identify with, and I felt that it was an opportunity to tell a story on stage that I’d never seen before. We see plenty of young queer people on stage and screen, but this story is about two older women…women who have lived a life that you wouldn’t have expected them to have lived. Most of the time women like Es and Flo seem almost invisible but, with Jen (Lunn)’s story, they’ll be on stage and witnessed, and I thought that was just incredible and something I really wanted to be part of.
Liz: I loved the back story of how Es and Flo had met at Greenham Common Peace Camp in the 80s and that really appealed to me. It’s such an incredible part of our history but is often forgotten. While we were rehearsing in London, we met some of the women who were part of the camp, and their daughters. Meeting them was an honour - they really changed things with their non-violent direct action yet had to put up with so much – horrible things were said about them in the press, and many had their children taken away from them – which has happened to Es in the play. In Es & Flo, we get to sing some of the Greenham songs such as ‘We are women, We are strong’. When we perform them, we really feel these affirmations. It’s such an empowering play.
What's it been like working as part of an all-female cast and creative team?
Doreene: It’s brilliant to work with this team – it’s a very safe environment and we all take care of each other. You go into a welcoming rehearsal room, and it’s very playful and funny – as a company we all know it’s ok to be vulnerable and make mistakes and we are all very human. All the women in the play are crucial in the plot – they are all strong women who have secrets – and they’re all changed for the better by the end of the play. It’s an honour sharing the stage with Liz, Michelle, Adrianna, Reesie, and Mirella.