Serena Manteghi is currently playing the role of Rosie in My Mother Said I Never Should opposite national treasure, Maureen Lipman. I caught up with Rosie to ask her about this well-known play and what her future career aspirations are. My Mother Said continues at London’s St James Theatre until 21 May 2016.
Hi Serena, thank you for chatting to Break A Leg Review. How has My Mother Said I Never Should been going so far? And tell me about your character.
Hello there, thanks so much for having me! The show has been quite a roller-coaster so far but feel like we are settling in now so it’s just getting more and more enjoyable. I play Rosie, the youngest of the four women in the play, and she is a dream of a part because she is so free and fun. She knows what she wants and she is quite happy to stride her own path to that.
Have you a favourite part of the play? Which role would you like to play if you weren’t playing Rosie?
I’m not sure I do have a favourite part of the play really. I enjoy bits of every scene for different reasons. Although in Act 2 I do get to run around with a sheet over my head and pretend to be a ghost. That is most definitely a highlight. Apart from Rosie, I think I’d like to play Doris because she just cracks me up, but that may well just be Maureen.
Did you know the play at all before you took the part?
I was familiar with the play, yes. I think I looked at it a bit at school or had just come across it the never-ending hunt for a good female monologue! But it definitely had been a while and so it did feel like discovering this wonderful secret again when I read it before my first audition. Especially as a woman I thought- parts like this, plays like this, just don’t come around often enough- I have to get this part! Ha!
What inspired you to become an actress?
I have always played, I suppose. As a kid it was just my favourite thing to do, dress up and play at being someone else. It really is that simple. I should probably say it was reading Waiting For Godot or something, shouldn’t I? And I suppose reading great plays is part of it, of course. But mostly I just like getting in a room with lots of like-minded people and playing.
What job do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t chosen this career path, and why?
Oh goodness, well there are two parts to that answer I suppose. First off, in my dreams, if I was clever enough, I would love to be a vet because I simply love being around animals. But secondly, I am actually not sure if there is anything else I’d be happier doing. I simply love doing this. I’m a big believer in one’s life having different chapters so may be one day I will end up doing something else but for now, I think I am where I am supposed to be.
Are there any roles that you have an ambition to play?
Oh hundreds! Haha! But off the top of my head, I’d love to play Margaret of Anjou in all three parts of Shakespeare’s Henry VI. I think she is just brilliant. Or Juliet, or Rosalind or Paulina! There’s a theme emerging here it seems. And I’d love to do some musical theatre because I haven’t done any in ages now.
What has been the most poignant moment of your career so far?
Oh goodness, I think it continues to provide little moments of poignancy or self-reflection intermittently. That’s the beauty of it; every job reveals new discoveries. I suppose My Mother Said I Never Should has been a very “poignant” process because it is about the tussle of family and everyone has one of them.
What would you say to encourage potential audience members to come and see My Mother Said I Never Should?
First off, the writing is just brilliant. It is an insanely successful and accessible play so you should see it for history’s sake. And secondly for the performances given by my wonderful co-cast. These three women are continually surprising and inspiring. But thirdly, as I mentioned earlier, it is a searingly truthful examination of what it is to have a family, to be part of one (whether you like it or not) and navigate your way through the needs of those you love most. You might learn something, I certainly have.
Huge thanks to Serena for her time, wishing every success to the cast of My Mother Said I Never Should!