Jen Pagan has the ultimate role in FITA : The Stage Play Adult Cathy narrating and reflecting on their time in captivity.
Lorraine Elgar , of AtticSecrets, was delighted to catch up with Jen and be told of her insights into this role.
Have you read the book ? what are your thoughts on it ?
I read the book in my early teens. It was one of those things that was passed around my group of friends and there was a sense of taboo because of the subject matter which made it exciting to read. Why we are drawn to things with such a dark nature has always been a puzzle to me. But as a teenager starting to grapple with the loss of innocence and burgeoning sexuality and all the questions that come with it, Flowers in the Attic was a foray into a world beyond what I experienced growing up in a relatively happy surburban home. It sparked my imagination and creativity.
How do you see Cathy at the point in her life in which you are portraying her ?
I see Cathy at a point where she is comfortable and accepting of her demons, the guilt and shame she experienced because of the incestuous relationship with her brother. I don’t feel she is offering excuses but rather a logical and reasonable explanation of her unique circumstance. And that she does so without apologies. To me she is coming to terms with her own internal struggle and finding peace in telling her story.
Which traits do you feel are vital to your
portrayal of Cathy ?
I believe it is vital to reveal the innocence of her younger self in telling her story. To show her humanity and that if she had been locked in the attic with another young man, not her brother, that the outcome may have been the same. But either way, when human sexuality begins to blossom it takes on a life of its own, unnatural or not, and can have long lasting consequences. I also think it is important to show her vitality and resilience, not play her as a victim but as a survivor and master of her own fate with the hand she was dealt by the devil himself in the attic. It is vital to show both sides of the coin, contradictions both dark and light. Because after all that is the human condition.
How are you going to make the character interesting when it is just a typical narrator character?
That is a very fine line to walk but I aim to approach it as not just a narrator, but as a storyteller that fully engages the audience with subtle character portrayals of her mother and brother, as well as breaking the fourth wall to allow the audience to be drawn into a sort of emotional collusion with her. Generally narrators simply guide you through the story. I hope my portrayal of Older Cathy as a fully fleshed out character in her own right has the audience riding shotgun in her emotional journey through her past.