Spotlight On… Vicky Pegram

Strange Land is coming to Chelsea Theatre from 26th – 28th May and I caught up with Vicky Pegram to chat about her characters and see what she would say to promote their amazing production.

Tell me about the character(s) you play and what you find to be most interesting about the role(s).

I play Bianka, Lea’s aunt, and Nurse 1. I have found the roles to be very interesting and fun as I need to develop characteristics true to the characters, but also show how the two roles differ from one another.

What’s your favourite part of the production?

The favourite part of the production is scene 2. It experiments with using physical theatre techniques to emphasise the claustrophobia and discomfort of a train carriage.

Is there another role that you could see yourself playing? If so, which one and why that part?

Each of us, with the exception of those playing Lea, play multiple characters of different ages, therefore, we all have the opportunity to explore different characters and physicalisations.

What’s been the best part of being involved on the production?

My favourite part of the production has been the rehearsal process. Every member of the cast and production team have been a joy to work with, each bringing their own creative ideas and imagination to make this show as spectacular as possible.

What would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come along and see you?

The talent of the cast and production team have brought this dystopian world to life. German expressionism combined with modern day musical theatre techniques make this show relevant, yet interesting, to the contemporary audience. You will be taken on an intriguing journey mixed with comedy and emotion enhanced by the folk music and clever lyrics written especially for this boundary breaking show.

Many thanks to you, Vicky – enjoy!

 

Advertisements

Spotlight On… Sini Tuulia

Strange Land is coming to Chelsea Theatre from 26th – 28th May and I caught up with Sini Tuulia to chat about her characters and see what she would say to promote their amazing production.

Tell me about the character(s) you play and what you find to be most interesting about the role(s).

 have three different roles (excluding the full company scenes): Dancing girl, Nurse, and Evalina the main leader of the revolt. As one of the dancing girls I get to be part of the world that the war hasn’t yet touched as a young, naive girl whose main worry is to be liked by her friends ad obviously boys. 

As Nurse I get to play a complete different character, as she’s utterly and completely exposed to the war and all that it does to the men in it. This allows me to explore how the war perhaps secondarily would have affected the nurses; they are not in the front line with the guns, but they have to deal with the aftermath, with all the death and sorrow and despair. Compared to the dancing girl in the first scene, the abstract, dream like qualities inspired by German expressionism are much more present in this hospital scenario. The jump from lightly heightened naturalism to this world, where scary and monstrous things are expected, is quite shocking for the audience but really inspiring for acting; playing with physicality and the expressionist idea of sharing your inner world on stage is in a much bigger part than any previous productions that I have been part of. 

Evalina, the main leader of the revolt has been the most interesting and challenging part of these three. I get to work with calming, direct energy but the objective is still to get the crowd inspired and ready to leave the safeness of everyday life through the revolt. The most rewarding part has been creating a past for the characters and playing with how it effects the present moment and the speeches. All the characters are so different physically and emotionally and exploring with these has been the most inspiring part of the production.

What’s your favourite part of the production? 

I’ve really enjoyed working with new text, new music and devising physical theatre. It’s challenging and exciting to work with cleaverly written text and music.

Is there another role that you could see yourself playing? If so, which one and why that part?

The expressionist influence on the show (protagonist that the narrative is based around) but the message of the show is actually about everything else that happens around her, the audience gets emotionally attached to her which enhances the political message. This is why I think anyone could basically be playing everyone, but the roles that we have now are the most suitable for us all.   

What’s been the best part of being involved on the production?

I’ve enjoyed working and devising with such a big cast. The amount of talent that I am surrounded with allows such a creative and supportive atmosphere to have fun and work in. The musical arrangements and new songs by Tim Gilvin are amazing, and singing those has been so so enjoyable. Working with Tim, Cathy and Jo is and has always been creatively and intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. Such a lovely process with such lovely and funny people!

What would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come along and see you?

A great amount of young aspiring talent. The writing and direction of this new musical is revolutionary, emotional and intellectually challenging with great music. The dance style is an amalgamation of traditional and contemporary moves made relevant for today’s audiences.

Thanks Sini, have fun with the show!

Spotlight On… Allana O’Neill

Strange Land is coming to Chelsea Theatre from 26th – 28th May and I caught up with Allana O’Neill to chat about her characters and see what she would say to promote their amazing production.

Tell me about the character(s) you play and what you find to be most interesting about the role(s).

I am honoured to play Lea in our production of Strange Land. She is a young girl who is certain that there is more to life than her small town and she is determined to find out what is out there for her. She is head strong and opinionated, but also quite immature and has wild romantic notions that get her in trouble. She is compassionate and caring, she falls in love and then just as quick moves on to someone new. She cares for others more than herself and in the end, this is her greatest flaw. I don’t want to say much and give it all away, get your tickets and all will be revealed!

The most interesting part about playing this role is that I found so much of myself in Lea. I love her humour and wit, I can relate to her thoughts about seeing the world and spreading her wings. I think the hard part was to make sure I wasn’t just me on stage, that no matter how alike I may think we are, Lea is a character and is fictional. I realise I sound crazy now. I’m not I promise!

What’s your favourite part of the production?

My favourite part of the production has to be the train scene. I love the physical theatre element, I love the lyrics of the solo lines and the reactions of other passengers. Everyone can relate to an uncomfortable train journey, all arm pits and loud earphones. This train journey is different however, the awkwardness and intolerance of each other is portrayed through movement and I think it is extremely effective way of telling a story.

Is there another role that you could see yourself playing? If so, which one and why that part?

I could definitely see myself playing the role of the bosses wife! She is aggressive, drunk and loud. All character traits that I think I would be quite good at playing!

What’s been the best part of being involved on the production?

I can’t name a specific part that has made my involvement in this production so amazing, there are so many different elements I could mention. I could say the best part is the fact that everyone has an important part to play. As the main character, Lea isn’t the main focus in every scene which means there is opportunity for other characters to tell the story and have their say. As a cast, this brought us closer together as it’s not just male lead, female lead and then ensemble members that walk on and off in the background. Everyone is a character and the show could not go on without each and every person. This is interesting from an audience perspective as it’s not the same person singing or talking all the time. I could say the best part was working under the direction of Cathy Rosario and Tim Gilvin, the composer of the score. To get a chance to work with industry professionals is an amazing opportunity and as a cast we are so privileged to have such talented individuals in our company. On a selfish note, I could also say that the best part of being involved in this production is that for the first time in my performance career, I have the lead role. I am still in shock that I was trusted to lead such a diverse and gifted cast and I will be eternally grateful to have the honour to do so. Also for the first time in my training, I have the most amazing costume that isn’t dodgy looking or smelly. Quite an achievement! I loved this whole process for all the reasons above and more but most importantly this was truly a company effort, the cast is a family and Strange Land is the product of a rehearsal process filled with laughs, love, the odd fist fight and so much dedication.

What would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come along and see you?

I would say try something new. When you go to see Cats or Guys and Dolls, you know what you’re going to see. Coming to Strange Land will be an experience you won’t forget! The unique story, the breath taking score and the cleverly written lyrics are just one element of an amazing production that you won’t want to miss out on. From a biased point of view, I’ve seen how much work has gone into this production. I could go on and on about how great it is but I’d rather you see for yourself! See an extremely talented cast bring a new story to life!

Thank you for your time, Allana – break a leg!

Spotlight On… Amber Marley

Strange Land is coming to Chelsea Theatre from 26th – 28th May and I caught up with Amber Maddison to chat about her characters and see what she would say to promote their amazing production.

Tell me about the character(s) you play and what you find to be most interesting about the role(s).

I play Frieda, Lea’s Nursing friend she is a very boisterous character and is extremely confident, so it is really fun to play her, and considering its an original production I get to really make her my own, alike all of the other cast members. I also have featured roles as a nurse and factory worker which has allowed me to explore the different physicality’s and personalities of each character individually.

What’s your favourite part of the production?

My favourite part of the production is Scene 7 where the entire cast are involved, it’s quite a still scene and explores the politics of the show which makes the production different to many others, we also spent a lot of time on this scene in particular towards our characterisation.

Is there another role that you could see yourself playing? If so, which one and why that part?

I don’t know really, I think I suit the characters I have been given, and I get the chance to show many different sides of my acting.

What’s been the best part of being involved on the production? Also, what would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come along and see you?

Its been a very collaborative production, and I have also had the chance of being dance captain again which is something that I wish to pursue in the future. We have had a lot of free rein with our characters and since it is a newly written show we have been able to discuss options and take risks during rehearsals with our director. I have also thoroughly enjoyed working with Tim Gilvin our Musical Director for the first time and to sing originally written music is something extremely new to me and I would love the chance to do it again. Although the choreography is minimal the best thing about it is, that it pushes the plot forward creating a very integrated and contextual musical. Jo Roots’ choreography inspired by Frantic Assembly, Lloyd Newson and Pina Bausch has helped create a boundary breaking piece of german expressionist theatre that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Many thanks to you, Amber – a pleasure to interview you!

Spotlight On… Matt Spencer

Strange Land is coming to Chelsea Theatre from 26th – 28th May and I caught up with Matt Spencer to chat about his characters and see what he would say to promote their amazing production.

Tell me about the character(s) you play and what you find to be most interesting about the role(s).

So I play three parts throughout Strange Land, as do many other members of the cast. My two main parts are Severin an army soldier and Max a factory worker which contrast each other nicely. I find both characters rather interesting to play, normally type cast as the comedy guy I have been challenged to do a lot of straight acting. Severin believes that he is a war hero, until he meets his sudden end – but alas! Severin is soon pieced back together again almost like a Frankenstein moment. It’s really interesting to play such a creative part, I get to die and then come back to life all Torchwood like. Max is very much an artist. He has a way with words, in contrast to his colleagues he has a vision of the world in which he wants to live in, the way he describes what he see’s is fine poetry and through the clever writing of one of my monologues by Cathy Rosario it feels like a pleasure to bring her words to life.

What’s your favourite part of the production?

What’s my favourite part of the production? It has to be the finale number. The whole sense of community through out the whole cast and the closure of the story line in a beautiful song with meaningful lyrics created by Tim Gilvin. It brings such a lovely ending to such a clever story line with so many twists and turns from the beginning.

Is there another role that you could see yourself playing? If so, which one and why that part?

I would love to play the character of Kurt. The song he sings with Lea is such a nice song. Possibly one of my favourite songs in the show. Kurt has to deliver a speech to his fellow factory workers about some of the experiences he has been through since the break out of the war. Robbie who plays Kurt recites this speech so beautifully it just touches you and you can see everything he is saying. I have totally got that monologue added to my repertoire right now though!

What’s been the best part of being involved on the production?

I think the best part of being apart of Strange Land is that this is my first shot at working on a new musical. I love new musicals, and I strongly back new writing. The fact I have to create the characters myself from scratch with only minimal inputs from the director and no material anywhere online of anyone else portraying the part – it fell down to me to create these characters and truly make them my own. I’m a film lover who often binges out on Netflix anyway so watching films to get a sense of what my character could be like its a pleasure. Another thing I love about being apart of the show is the great material in which we are working with, it has brought our class a lot closer together and seeing as the majority of us are going our separate ways when we graduate the show is very fitting.

What would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come along and see you?

Why should an audience come and watch? New musicals are the future of both the West End and Broadway supporting new writing helps the Musical Theatre world move along as it were. With such a professional standard show in London for just a tenner you cannot go wrong with Strange Land. It has such a compelling story line which will have you in tears by the end.

Thanks Matt, a pleasure to chat with you!

Spotlight On… Kelly Young

Strange Land is coming to Chelsea Theatre from 26th – 28th May and I caught up with Kelly de Jong to chat about her characters and see what she would say to promote their amazing production.

Tell me about the character(s) you play and what you find to be most interesting about the role(s)

I play 3 characters; Lena Passenger 2, Sister Isabella, and Britta the foreman. I find the roles interesting because they are all different in their own ways. Lena is a farmer and a very traditional woman. She is a strong character. Sister Isabella is a beautiful character. I think she is my favourite of the three. She is a soft caring nun who just wants to help everybody, even when circumstances change she still follows what she believes is right. Britta is a very strong personality. She doesn’t break no matter what happens.

What’s your favourite part of the production?

My favourite part of the production is the song Follow. It has been beautifully written by Tim Gilvin and completely suits the situation based on the song Scarborough Fair. It is truly a heartbreaking scene and get me almost in tears every time.

Is there another role that you could see yourself playing? If so, which one and why that part?

There are so many great roles in this production that as actors some of us would love to play every role. I definitely wouldn’t choose any other role than the ones chosen by my director. I love playing them.

What’s been the best part of being involved on the production?

The best part of this production for myself started with reading the musical for the first time. It is definitely a production I would go to see because I love this style of contemporary musical.

What would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come along and see you?

I think this a great musical to go and see. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to see such a brilliant piece of theatre based on true events but adapted through German expressionism.

Thanks Kelly! Lovely to chat to you.

Strange Land ~ Chelsea Theatre

A musical which promises to experiment with the boundaries of modern theatre is gearing up to open at Chelsea Theatre for a limited run.

It’s directed by Cathy Rosario, who had this to say about the piece:

What is particularly interesting about our musical is that it is based on the revolutionary visions of Ernst Toller, whose plays recently came out of copyright. He was a very influential figure in both politics and the theatre, but his career was cut short when he hung himself in 1939 in his room at the Mayflower Hotel in New York, which is famous for the writers and celebrities who lived there. Toller was depressed about his writing career and the rise of fascism, and feared for the safety of his brother and sister who were still in Germany. As Jews they were later murdered in concentration camps. 

Visit http://www.chelseatheatre.org.uk/book-now/ to book your tickets! Limited run of Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th May 2016.

Strange Land tests the boundaries and the overlapping between expressionist theatre and the tradition of musicals. It is based on two revolutionary plays by the German expressionist Ernst Toller – Transformation and Masses and Men. For both, Toller drew closely on his life as a young Jewish man who went to fight in World War 1 and came back from its horrors as a pacifist and a communist revolutionary. Transformation is a forerunner to the iconic science fiction film Metropolis, directed by Frtiz Lang. 

German expressionism in the theatre in the early part of the twentieth century was intimately tied to a revolutionary politics that downplayed the individual and focused on the power of the group. It rejected the idea that one person’s life has more value than another. This found its expression artistically in an epic structure that may have one character’s journey driving the play forward, but within that we are drawn into the intertwined worlds of many other characters, as the limelight shifts on to their lives. The sheer scale of what is shown, combined with staging and lighting that give external expression to inner turmoil, can transform a small stage into a vast, compelling landscape where the audience see their own world reflected back, distorted and yet familiar.

As a group, we have experimented with these expressionist techniques to create a dystopian fictional country at the beginning of the twentieth century where the young are forced to take a stand against the infectious violence and greed of the old order. It is in this country that Lea, an eighteen-year-old Jewish woman, lives on the edge of a city stripped of young men, who have left to fight in a great war. Desperate for adventure and romance, and to prove that she loves the Fatherland, she signs up as an army nurse. What happens to her at the eerie battlefront leads Lea back to the very city she has not long left. It is there that she makes the most chilling discoveries of all. The Fatherland reveals itself to be no noble country, but a nightmare land.

For interviews with six members of the cast, click these links:

https://breakalegreview.com/2016/05/24/spotlight-on-vicky-pegram/

https://breakalegreview.com/2016/05/24/spotlight-on-sini-tuulia/

https://breakalegreview.com/2016/05/24/spotlight-on-allana-oneill/

https://breakalegreview.com/2016/05/24/spotlight-on-amber-maddison/

https://breakalegreview.com/2016/05/24/spotlight-on-matt-spencer/

https://breakalegreview.com/2016/05/24/spotlight-on-kelly-de-jong/

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: