If you’ve never watched the 1973 Bond film Live and Let Die, you should make time to do so. The first in the series starring arguably the second best Bond of all time – Roger Moore – the movie also departed from the usual theme of megalomaniac villains. Instead it focused on drug trafficking and incorporated many blaxploitation references. More importantly the film introduced the world to the fetching charms of British actress Jane Seymour.
Four decades later Seymour still looks as gorgeous as ever. The decorated actress is coming to Singapore to star in a re-telling of The Vortex, presented by the British Playhouse Theatre from 27 April to 15 May. It’s a famously shocking play back in the day due to its controversial content, and has experienced numerous revivals. Seymour takes time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions regarding Singapore’s version of The Vortex.
What can the Singapore audience expect from The Vortex?
It is a play that was very scandalous in the early 1920’s. Its controversial content shows us how different the world was for a rich, aging woman in the 1920’s compared to today and the troubled relationship between a mother and her son that needs serious repair.
Singapore society and the world of London high society are on opposite ends of the same spectrum though.
The fascination of this play is that Coward was writing about the London High Society of ninety years ago and it was a society he was very close to and even part of. That’s the great audience appeal of the play because his observations were first-hand and it’s why The Vortex shocked so many people, because it opened the ‘window’ on to society at that time. But the story line is also about a mother and her son, their relationship and love, sex and betrayal. I don’t think any of those elements are culturally worlds apart!
Why do you think the play is so popular and has experienced multiple revivals even though it’s almost a century old?
The issues continue to be fascinating today. The idea of a woman not wanting to accept her age or grow old gracefully and still feeling that she is young inside. She wants to live a full life. There are a lot of older women who find themselves wanting to spend time with younger men in their later years especially if they get divorced. This play illustrates the dilemma and consequences of a society woman, a woman who lives the high life, and who’s not paying attention to the needs of her child. But at the end of the day it’s about priorities and what really matters most is life.
What attracted you to the role of Florence Lancaster?
Florence was a woman before her time. She was a woman whose vanity was such that she refused to age. What really attracted me to the project was the damage that she caused to her family and especially to her son. Also, I had the incredible opportunity of meeting Noel Coward in my youth. The memory of which inspired me to play homage to his great talent.
How is film acting different from performing for the theatre? Which of the three – film, theatre and television – do you prefer and why?
I’ve mostly performed in film and television because I was raising children and I had an amazing career in both of them. I love theatre and I love the instant feedback that you get from the energy and feedback of the audience as they watch the play. And that instant reaction is just something that you could never get in film or television—a feeling of actually being in the moment with the theatre audience and experiencing an emotional journey with them.
If Heaven existed, what would you like God to say to you when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“You did your best, under the circumstances.”
The Vortex runs from 27 April to 15 May. Tickets are on sale at Sistic.