EDINBURGH 2019: WATCHING GLORY DIE Q&A
BWW catches up with Judith Thompson to chat about bringing Watching Glory Die to the 2019 Edinburgh Festival.
Tell us a bit about Watching Glory Die.
Watching Glory Die is a play based on the shocking death of a Canadian teenager while in her fifth year of custody for throwing crabapples. She strangled herself to death with six correctional officers watching, as they had been instructed not to enter "until she is blue." It's a horrific story and it also absolutely feeds into the current idea that women are obsessed with True Crime (My Favourite Murder etc!) as it's but a heartbeat away.
Why is this an important story to be told?
Because Ashley is an outlier, like every artist. Ashley simply could not be a "good girl." She could not shut up and do what she was told. She was wild, and reckless, and if she had been a boy, she would have been admired.
The artist's job is to throw those crab apples, to unsettle and startle conforming folks, to question everything. That is what Ashley was doing, in her way, and she paid with her life. Hers was not a suicide. It was a homicide. It was, in fact, ruled a homicide in civil court. Who was punished for her death? Only the guards, who were doing their jobs, afraid to jeopardize their pensions. Those who gave the orders were promoted. I am as interested in the guard, who I call Gail, and Ashley's mother Coralee, who I call Rosellen, as I am in Ashley. Three women, all ensnared in patriarchal fascism.
From whose perspective is it told?
The story is told from the three perspectives: the girl, her mother, and the guard she was closest to.
Why bring it to Edinburgh?
Death while in custody happens all over the world. Why?
What do you hope audiences take away from it?
Deep identification with each character. And awareness raising, of course.