Stage 65 Youth Theatre is in the middle of another busy week of rehearsals for Peer Gynt. We caught up with a few of the cast members to find out more about the characters they are playing and what they are enjoying most about rehearsals.
Charlie Thomas: I am playing the title character of Peer Gynt in the entire first act of the play; it is a genuine honour to portray a character with so many levels to him. He has a lot of unique characteristics that make his image change from scene to scene. This varies from genuinely detestable (in scenes such as the wedding scene), to genuine pain and sympathy toward the end of the first act.
The rehearsal process is so enjoyable too – Dave’s individual directing style really allows me to thrive in the role.
Megs Slark: My character, Ase, is Peer Gynt’s mother. She represents many facets of the archetypical maternal figure, acting as a weakness for Peer Gynt’s otherwise hardened shell of insensitivity. She is an anchor, pulling him home and representing a safe place of ‘normality’ and innocence in his mind. She herself is a cynical, toughened woman. She has given everything to her life and had very little in return, and this contradictory base to her existence explains her bipolar approach to parenting her son. Simultaneously loving and hating him, she foreshadows his fate to face purgatory at the end of the play.
I have enjoyed working with people close to my own age that are focused intently on their depth of performance. It has been a joy to bounce ideas around a rehearsal room of others on the same wavelength as me as it makes me feel like the show is coming alive without us having to force it.
Sebastien Varrannes: I play a number of different characters including a troll and a monkey.
It is good fun being with friends and I am enjoying making monkey noises though I am tired from jumping about!
Oliver Hopkins: Besides several ensemble roles, I play ‘Passenger’ in Peer Gynt and I am a member of the Band, ‘The Egotists’, who will be playing live, exciting and original music during the play. Passenger, who is a strange and reserved man, meets a broke and ruined Peer as he travels home by boat. He wants to make use of Peer’s corpse to discover the origin of dreams and when the ship crashes perhaps Passenger will get what he wants.
Rehearsals are going really well and it’s great to work alongside Director Dave Orme as we workshop ideas and bring the play to life. It’s also great to work alongside Composer David Lewington as the band perfects every note and chord to accompany the play. Peer Gynt is certainly going to be a fantastic production and one not to miss!
Chloe Marshall: I’m in the chorus of women who act as narrators throughout the play, representing the hypothetical women that Peer, or men like Peer, have wronged. They portray the detrimental effects of the behaviour that men like Peer project to the world, more specifically the women they come into contact with, and give a different perspective on Peer’s journey throughout the play.
I’m enjoying the group of which I’m part of and getting to act in a role that depicts the attitudes and opinions of women as valid and an important part of the play as a whole.
I’m also part of the chorus of women. Peer Gynt can be a bit erratic and weird at times, so hopefully we are a reassuring and helpful presence! We’ve a got a lot of personality too as we speak for all the women wronged by Peer: we can stand up to him when we need to.
I am really enjoying seeing it all come together. Scripts can sometimes be hard to interpret and visualise, especially a new adaptation which has never been done before. In rehearsals though, vocalising the dialogue and making the characters physical and real has been really exciting – it makes it easier to see the story as a whole, and we can realise Dave’s vision for it as a cast.
65 young people are taking part in Peer Gynt which runs in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 August 2016. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit www.salisburyplayhouse.com.
Photos by Lydia Stamps