Production of Mother Courage and her Children set for tour
Alison Peebles tackles Bertolt Brecht’s study of economic survival
‘She’s like a lioness with her cubs – she keeps them close,’ says Alison Peebles preparing to take on the formidable title role of Mother Courage, the powerhouse at the heart of Bertolt Brecht’s study of economic survival in the 30 Years’ War. She is a slippery character, a woman who is witty and entertaining, yet capable of acts of chilling calculation if it means keeping herself and her children alive.
‘She has the charisma of a monster,’ says Peebles. ‘You’d enjoy spending time in her company but you’d be horrified by what she’s coming out with.’
It puts her in mind of the looters who appear at times of natural disaster, people compelled to put their own desperate needs ahead of the common good. ‘She’s an opportunist and a woman of her time and situation,’ says Peebles, who played in Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan in London alongside Fiona Shaw. ‘War makes people different. She’ll do anything to survive. Morally, you might not agree with her, but everything she does is for the best for her family.’
Heading an impressive cast in a touring production by Birds of Paradise, Peebles is delighting in the character’s contradictions: ‘Brecht himself believed you should be surprised by each moment and that’s what I want to do.’
For full touring schedule see www.birdsofparadisetheatre.co.uk
Paisley Arts Centre, Thu 10 Mar; Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Thu 12 Mar; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 30 Mar–Sat 2 Apr. Currently touring throughout Scotland