Anne Enright with Vicky Featherstone: Mothers and Daughters
‘You were always sitting in character, you were just never sure which one.’ So says Norah to the memory of her mother in Actress, the new novel by Anne Enright. The mother in question is Katherine O’Dell, who died aged 58 – the same age Norah has now reached.
Actress is a portrait of life in the theatre, of one woman’s rise to fame and her subsequent decline, with all the challenges that women on stage faced in the years before the #MeToo movement shone light on them. But this novel is also a tender examination of the relationship between mother and daughter – the reconstruction of an emotional landscape in which fame has left a trail of newspaper articles, photographs and public performances.
Today the Booker Prize-winning novelist is joined by Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre and the first Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, to discuss this sensitive portrayal of a life lived in the spotlight.