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Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi - Finborough Theatre

Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi

Theatre preview

TO COMMEMORATE the centenary year of the death of suffragette martyr Emily Wilding Davison, the first full professional production in more than 35 years of Pam Gems’ feminist classic, Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi, runs at Finborough Theatre from July 11 (previews from July 9) to August 3, 2013.

My loves, what are we to do? We won’t do as they want any more, and they hate it. What are we to do?

Four determinedly ‘liberated’ – and very different – women ricochet around a tiny shared flat, while trying to pull together the shattered strands of their lives: Dusa is struggling to regain her children from their father, Fish is losing her lover to another woman, Stas is on the game to finance the course she wants to study at university, while Vi steadfastly refuses to eat….

A bitingly sardonic modern classic, widely regarded as an historic icon of early feminism, Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi was first seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1976 under the title Dead Fish. Michael Codron transferred the play to the West End under its new title where it enjoyed a huge success and established Pam Gems as a major new voice in British theatre.

Helen Eastman directs a cast that includes Emily Dobbs (as Stas), Helena Johnson (Vi), Olivia Poulet (Fish) and Sophie Scott (Dusa).

Emily Dobbs has previously appeared at the Finborough Theatre in Ours (2007) and Love on the Dole (2010). Her credits elsewhere include The Seagull and The Hostage (Southwark Playhouse), As You Like It (Riverside Studios/National Tour), Stars in the Morning Sky, Dance Hall Days, Gotcha and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Riverside Studios), Fall of Humanity (Gate Theatre), Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (Arcola Theatre), Puppets and Prophets (Theatre503) and Macbeth (National Tour).

Dobbs has also appeared on television in The Bill and Primeval.

Helena Johnson’s theatre work includes The Three Sisters and Father Christmas (Oxford Playhouse), Private Lives (Old Fire Station, Oxford), Miss Julie (Drama Centre), Pericles (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Three Women (Live Canon). She has also worked extensively as part of the Live Canon ensemble performing poetry at regional theatres and events around the country, and appeared in the film EXIT.

Olivia Poulet’s theatre credits include The Captain of Kopenick (National Theatre), Fred’s Diner (Chichester Festival Theatre), Top Girls (Ambassador Theatre Group), Shivered (Southwark Playhouse), A Voyage Round My Father and Map Of The Heart (Salisbury Playhouse), Fiasco (Soho Theatre), The Queef of Terence and Bird Flu Diaries (Pleasance Edinburgh), Major Barbara (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Lesson (King’s Head Theatre) and The School for Scandal (Derby Playhouse).

On screen, Poulet has appeared in In the Loop, Stalking Ben Chadz, Day of the Flowers, Heroes and Villains and Killing Me Softly (film); Margaret, The Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Outnumbered, Whatever Love Means, Friends and Crocodiles, Love Soup, The Rotters Club, Inspector Lynley, Silent Witness, Teachers, The Bill and Acorn Antiques (TV).

Sophie Scott’s theatre credits include Radio Times (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Lark Rise to Candleford (National Tour), Othello (Ludlow Festival), The Kreutzer Sonata (Gate Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe and Tour), Twelfth Night (Donmar at Wyndham’s Theatre), The Portrait of a Lady (The Peter Hall Company at Theatre Royal, Bath), Uncle Vanya (English Touring Theatre) and Blood (Royal Court Theatre).

Scott’s television work includes Throwaway, Spit Game and Distant Shores.

Director Helen Eastman returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed The Monument, Fair (and its subsequent National Tour and West End run at Trafalgar Studios), The Gabriels and three productions from live poetry company, Live Canon, where she is Artistic Director.

Playwright Pam Gems (1925–2011) turned to playwriting after bringing up four children. Closely involved with the Women’s Theatre Group at the Almost Free Theatre, she went on to enjoy a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, from Queen Christina (1977) and Piaf (1978) to Camille (1984), The Danton Affair (1986) and The Blue Angel (1991).

Her later plays included Stanley, which premiered at the National Theatre, starring Antony Sher, winning both Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best New Play, as well as receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Play; and Marlene, which was also nominated for a Tony Award.

Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi is presented by Jagged Fence in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

Also at Finborough Theatre: Doug Lucie’s chillingly funny Hard Feelings, Early Days, David Storey’s poignant lament on loneliness and abandonment, and William M. Hoffman’s As Is.