Interview with Yerma's Thalissa Teixeira
Simon Stone's brilliant adaptation of Yerma is returning to the Young Vic this week, a second chance to see an "utterly unmissable" play. The play won the Best Revival award at this year' Olivier, with leading lady Billie Piper taking home the award for Best Actress. As the show gears up for a second run, and a worldwide NT Live broadcast, we caught up with actress Thalissa Teixeira to find out just why you shouldn't miss this play.
Photo by Johann Persson.
What's it like to be back in rehearsals with the Yerma cast and crew?
It feels like we haven't left really. Half an hour in and we're already bantering and taking the mick out of each other like the family we are. We all kept in touch. I think we knew it was going to be coming back. They weren't getting away from me that easily.
Did you always know this play was going to get the response it got?
Simon Stone is a genius and you could tell from week one of rehearsals that it was going to be a huge feat. It made a lot of sense to us, which is an indication of a wonderful play. It struck such a huge note with everyone in the cast.
For anyone who didn't see the play the first time round, what's it about and why should they get a ticket?
It's an adaptation form a Lorca play, about a woman who can't get pregnant. Simon has re-written it and set it in modern London. I play a character called Des who is is Her's assistant and the paper she works at. My role is to counter balance a lot of the emotional strain she goes through. It's quite easy for me because I just have a great time while all the others are struggling.
There's party scene which looks like fun...
The best thing about it is that we have no idea where the others are until the lights turn on. We stumble on to the stage and know the lights will turn on at any moment, and we just start cheering. It's a lot of fun.
And what's working with babies like?
The babies! They were like a stress ball. It was so good to have such a young, bright being backstage when there was so much drama happening on the stage. There were some babies that didn't like it very much, but there was one particular baby that was just the absolute star of the show. I hope Billie doesn't mind me saying that.
What makes one baby a better actor than another?
This is the thing, they don't have a consciousness of what they're doing right or wrong. It's quite a good lesson really, learn from the baby. Wave a lot, apparently the audience likes that.
Things get quite muddy onstage, too?
We're all involved in that scene which is set at a festival. Luckily it's not actual mud, it's ingenious stage mud so we don't get really messy. It rains, which gets to my perfectly defined curls which aren't so perfectly defined by the end of the show but that's okay.
Are you excited about the NT Live broadcast?
I'm really pleased that it's happening because I think it needs to spread out to as many people as possible. There's very loose direction so every performance is different, it changes every night. It will be nice to have a clip documented of one of the many possibilities that has happened on that stage.
Is Yerma going to have a future after this run?
I don't know. There are always rumours, but I hope so. I want it to live on forever!
How did you get started in acting?
Who knows? I just kind of rolled around and it happened. I grew up in Brazil and there there's a huge sense of community performance and parties and festivals. From a very young age, you're always performing at school. When I came back it seemed obvious to apply myself that way.
What is the theatre scene in Brazil like?
In Salvador it's very relaxed, silly, pantomime-like sort of stuff. To be honest I don't really know. I'm just very happy to be playing the roles that I do in London. Or the UK. Or Europe, really.
What's next for you after Yerma?
I'd like to do some more theatre and some more TV. It's all quite open really, it's usually quite last minute. I don't know really.
Finally, is it true that you directed a music video for a pirate rock band?
I did! My friends are in a pirate band called Cap'n Yoshke and The Runnin' Bowlines. They wanted me to shoot a music video for them and I was available, and a lot of my friends were available. So we found a pub in Camden who let us shoot there as long as we bought drinks afterwards. It was a fantastic experience, we shot the whole thing in about four or five hours and you can watch it on YouTube. It was one of my favourite things I've ever done in my career.
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