Pillow talk with the co-directors of The Pajama Game
Behind the fluff is a fight for what’s right!
Co-directors Grace Iglesias-Fernandez and Emma Coffey (pictured) make their directorial debut with Geoids, having earned their stripes performing in previous Geoids productions Sweet Charity, My Fair Lady and On the Twentieth Century. We chat to them about this exciting show before The Pajama Game takes to the Bridewell stage 6-10 November 2018.
How would you sum up the show?
A vibrant musical comedy that’s bursting at the seams with 1950s Americana!
Tell us more!
It’s a classic musical comedy with plenty of catchy numbers and loveable characters, but with a lot more substance than many other shows of the Golden Age! That’s because it manages to balance comedy with drama, putting at the forefront the workers’ fight for fair pay, feminist characters and a modern romance.
What is your take on The Pajama Game?
We’ve really tried to focus on bringing out the modernity of the characters. We have women who are ahead of their time and men who aren’t afraid of that, both of which are joys to work with as directors. You can almost tell that the show is based on a novel as the themes are expertly woven through the script and the songs alike.
How have you approached telling the story?
Our directing style is all about keeping the classic musical theatre vibe while making the characters feel as real as we can, particularly Babe and Sid. We want it to feel modern and classic all at once!
We wanted to keep the workers’ quest for fair pay and the revolutionary, fighting spirit at the forefront so we’ve also really tried to give our fantastic ensemble the chance to shine, creating their own individual characters to add depth to the show.
Combining the above with a healthy dose of infectious music, dancing and lots of laughter, we think we have a blend of escapism and relevant ideals that make for a great evening!
Why do you think it’s relevant to be playing now in London?
Fighting for employment rights will always be relevant. In today’s world, there are still very real issues around companies exploiting our generation’s willingness to work all hours of the day and many people living below the poverty line despite having a full-time job because wages aren’t rising fast enough to keep up with the cost of living – particularly in London. Whilst a small town in Iowa couldn’t be more different to modern London, we know that our fantastic cast will create an evening so absorbing that the packed tube commute will seem like a million miles away!
The show will also be performing on Equal Pay Day! Is that pertinent?
The struggle of worker bee vs ruling class is something that will always ring true, and particularly the feminist threads running throughout the show of women who know their own mind, who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in and who very much hold the balance of power in some surprising elements of their life, is something that we hope will appeal to a modern audience.
And what is great about this show is that we see a strong young woman fighting for the greater cause. She’s willing to put her job and wellbeing on the line for the good of her peers. We could all do with taking notes from Babe Williams!