Interview with Camille O'Sullivan - Sydney Festival 2013

Uploaded by SydneyFestival on 22.10.2012

I'm Camille O'Sullivan and I'm from Ireland
and I'm delighted to be performing in The Rape Of Lucrece
at the Sydney Festival with the Royal Shakespeare Company
with a poem that was written by Shakespeare
that Feargal Murray and myself created music for and will be performing.
It's been a first for me because I sing the likes of Nick Cave,
Jacques Brel, you know, Radiohead,
I'm into kind of provocative storytelling which makes you question,
and I love theatre.
And it made sense, in a way, when we...
You know, I hadn't written music before,
but when we put music to this, Feargal and myself,
erm, Shakespeare's poem, maybe because it was in rhyme,
suited this type of singing storytelling
and lended itself to be very contemporary.
So some people, when they hear it, think it's quite modern in some of the songs,
especially at the end of the poem.
When I was growing up in Ireland, I always felt kind of, you know,
slightly intimidated by Shakespeare and his words.
But what was great about the Royal Shakespeare Company,
they said, "Speak in your own voice and try and make sense of it.
Don't get, kind of, caught up in the whole poetry of every word,
just try and see the sense of an emotion and a person."
And, erm, I think you really...
He paints pictures with his words
so it's very easy to kind of, like, get lost in his words
cos you're kind of creating...
You know, he uses landscape or he uses animals to be metaphors
and so I'm usually, like, distraught cos I love animals
and I'm going, "Oh, my God!"
This terrible scene where he's talking about a poor little fawn
trying to get out of a forest
and he's relating it to this girl that's in this problem.
And he understood so much the vulnerability of somebody.
I love the fact he understood the strength or the evilness of people
but then a woman and her innocence, you know?
So I kind of thought, how did he understand everything?
He's kind of like all man, really.
And when you're saying his stuff on stage,
the more and more you speak it, you go,
"Oh, my God, that's amazing. That's amazing, what he said."
So it's a lovely discovery as a performer
and you feel like you're living his words very, erm, presently.
Not something from 400 years ago, right now.
And I think the most important thing for me is to let the audience go,
"Don't get phased by the old language."
It's a very modern... You know, it's about now.