The actress chatted to us about starring in the new filmed production of Romeo & Juliet.
How does it feel to be presenting this classic love story in this way?
It feels exciting. Our director Nick Evans was so great at finding the urgency of the piece, and this, matched with the time and physical constraints just added to its vibrant energy. It brought out the passion of the story and the idea that Romeo and Juliet are breaking rules just for the small chance of being together.
Given everything that is going on at the moment, it must have been really difficult to film. How did that work?
It felt like a relief, as it showed how resilient this industry can be, and the different possibilities for theatre in the future. We rehearsed with no more than six people in the room (including Nick and Ryan [Metcalfe]), we took our temperatures, wore masks or put screens between us. Then when it came to filming, apart from the day that Sam [Tutty], Brandon [Bassir], Nick and I got tested, we each shot our parts separately on green screen. This also meant that Sam and I filmed all of our scenes in one day, which was intense, but I guess that’s also the nature of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. So in a way, it kind of worked.
How did you find the whole experience of working this way?
The physical restraints like the distance and perspex screens were different, yes, but we all wanted to complete the project in a safe way. We knew these measures were necessary and just got on with it. But of course, it would have been great to meet and get to know the whole cast properly- so hopefully we will all be able to catch up in the future.
Juliet has been portrayed in so many different ways in different productions – how do you see her as a character?
I’d never read or watched Romeo & Juliet prior to this project, so it was great meeting her with fresh eyes. Immediately I was drawn to her passionate, Impulsive nature, which seemed to be a response to her overly protective mother. Nick and I loved finding the similarities between her, her mother and the nurse (the two parental figures in our version of the story), and how Juliet can be both uncompromising and quick-witted in her treatment of the other characters in the play. At her core though, I saw her as an impassioned teenager, who wanted to escape her trapped life through uninhibited love (Romeo) to feel free.
Without giving too much away, what can people expect from this production?
I’d say you can expect a fast-paced, modern, tragic version of a classic love story, full of interesting oppositions and juicy relationships.
What have you enjoyed the most about working on Romeo & Juliet?
Simply doing a production that allowed no time for fear or second guesses. It was thrilling. We had to just go for it, and I learnt so much from working in this way with Nick, Ryan, Sam and the whole team. It was a real “we’re in this together’” vibe, even with the people I couldn’t physically meet.
How has it felt being able to perform again? Amazing. Being in a rehearsal room, even with the restrictions, was so fun and energising. Nick gave us all the time he possibly could and let us follow our instincts, so it was just a beautiful way to work in general.
What do you miss the most about live theatre? Being in a room full of strangers and watching great performers do what they love to do. It’s such a unique experience – and It’ll be great when we can be in that space again- on and off stage.
By Emma Clarendon
Romeo & Juliet will be streamed from the 13th to the 20th February. Tickets are available to purchase here.