Valiant: Lanna Joffrey and Allie Renzetti - Interview

Femalearts has talked to Lanna Joffrey about her adaptation from before (see links at the end). With director, Allie Renzetti, she is about to mount the show with a part new cast as part of the JW3 celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8th, but they have a programme spanning six weeks). The programme features many powerful stories by, and of, women but Valiant is the only one to be telling the stories of war.

I wanted to catch up with Lanna and Allie as they rehearsed for the show on February 17th and hear about any changes and their experiences since Edinburgh where the show garnered glowing reviews from every publication in town.. They have made some changes in which actor tells which story to make the most of each actor’s skills.

Valiant is a powerful verbatim theatre piece chronicling the role of women in war. From victim to perpetrator to peacemaker, from Afghanistan to Japan, meet 13 women who have fought, struggled and survived through a century of conflict. The reviewers in Edinburgh were overwhelmingly positive and audience responses were interesting and varied. They had Vietnam vets claiming that Kathy’s story of atrocities by US soldiers weren’t true despite her vivid personal account. In contrast two Kurdish women stayed to tell the cast how true the stories felt to their own experience despite the gap of nearly twenty years.

Director Allie Renzetti feels that, although many of the stories have a timeless quality, that the piece feels more contemporary now than it did just five months ago in Edinburgh. War and the experience of it seems much closer than it did last August.

The one night at JW3 will be followed by a performance as part of the WOW (Women of the World) festival in Folkestone on March 12th plus there are plans to do a reading and Q&A with a church in Hove.

Effie Samara's interview with Lanna Joffrey:

An audio interview in which Lanna talks about her first encounter with the book and her approach to adapting it:

Author's review: