Interviewer: What was it about Gem of the Ocean that made you want to collaborate with Paulette again?
Libby: I' d known about August Wilson and his work, Paulette' s directed August' s work before, which I didn' t do with her, I didn' t really know her then. And I read it and thought it was a brilliant piece of theatre, and very clever and very still, very poignant, and just a challenge as well, a great challenge, particularly the scene where they go this great boat journey. And how to produce that, and how to make that work.
Interviewer: What pushed you into the direction that you ended up in?
Libby: I think, I' ve always been in to sort of, design, my parents had retail shops, furniture and curtain shops, so I' ve always been involved in interiors I suppose. I did an A-level in Theatre Design, which I really really enjoyed and I was advised to go to Art school, which I ignored and went and did stage management for two years, which was maybe a mistake, but it' s kind of helped me, but it was always still there, so when I graduated and worked as a carpenter for a couple of years I was still very interested in designing, and I thought I could get into design by being amongst designers, in term of them coming into the workshop and me looking a their drawings and realising their work. However I realised that wasn' t the way to do it at all and I had to re-train and do a degree, so I went back to school, so I did a degree at Wimbledon Art School, for three years.
Interviewer: How closely must you study the text to come up with the sort of interpretation?
Libby: You have to study it quite closely in terms of movement around the set, and how people are going to come into the space and out of the space. This is not particularly tricky and there aren' t any scene changes, it doesn' t suddenly go to another place entirely, it always within this house, and pretty much always within this room. There' s a little bit of action talked about outside but you don' t really see it. So, in terms of that, fairly straight forward, just making sure people can be seen everywhere, which is particularly tricky in the Tricycle, because it has sight-line issues, it' s very difficult to design for, in terms of getting everybody to see everything. It' s quite hard.
Interviewer: It' s been said that you mix magic with realism, how deliberate is that?
Libby: I think that, for this one, very deliberate, because of the magical element of the story that had to be in there somewhere. If it had just been a straight-forward flat-floor with a full roof and everything else, I don' t think it would have taken us on the same journey, to be honest. I think it needed an element of ' something' s a bit odd' about it.