Tanya Loretta Dee plays Willow in the dynamic female-led theatre production Boots, now showing at The Bunker Theatre. The play follows the funny, heart breaking adventure of two women at very different stages in life, questioning what it means to be a woman. In between shows I was able to speak to Tanya about Boots and the theatre industry as a whole:
Why should people come and see Boots?
Tanya Dee (TD): It’s funny, real and raw. You will laugh hard, you will cry hard, and think twice every time you go into a chemist’s; perhaps you will want to know a little more about that person buying incontinence pads – who knows, they might change your world!
What are you hoping people will leave with after seeing Boots?
(TD): We are not providing an answer or a solution to many problems we discuss in the play, rather asking the audience to reflect, think and perhaps take action on the topics discussed. How DO we tackle loneliness? What is our personal responsibility to others we meet who may need extra support? Why don’t we have more time to connect with nature, people, family? How do we deal with prejudice? What is trauma? Bootsis a piece of work to get people talking, and I hope will give them courage do so.
What is revolutionary and rebellious about this play?
(TD): You know that moment when you’re just about to have a row with someone, or you have some exciting news to share, or something has come to the surface that you need to face? This is the place where Willow (my character) and Liz (my co-star Amanda Boxer) meet. There is a lot of rage, release and courage in this play. Sometimes the smallest voice can shout the loudest, sometimes having the courage to just whisper “me too” is the start of a rebellion.
What do you think the connection between trees and women is?
(TD): Trees are able to talk to each other underground. They have a hidden connection. I feel that women have that hidden connection this too. Our intuition is very powerful. Also, none of us would be here if it wasn’t for women, the same can be said about trees. We need trees. We need each other. That hidden connection can do brilliant things.
What are your self- care practices?
(TD):The acting industry is tough – you will always be judged in some way or other. I limit social media while I’m in a play, relax by taking bubble baths, and I have a wonderful group of friends who I can reach out to if I ever need to rant or get support.
What was the most challenging thing about this play and character for you?
(TD):Willow is still finding her voice. She is very funny but covers a lot up with smiles and laughter. I can really relate to that, but we are very different in our approach to expressing our feelings. She has really made me reflect on my listening – on how to listen deeply.
Boots is still on at The Bunker Theatre until March 16th – catch it while you can.
Photography by Tim Kelly
Lighting by Jack Weir
Set design by Lia Weber