Friday, 8 August 2014

Lucy Roslyn | Interview

Lucy Roslyn is currently playing the role of Claire in Crystal Springs at the Park Theatre. Since graduating from DSL, Lucy Roslyn's credits include Mr Happiness & The Water Engine (Old Vic Tunnels); the improvised game of chance with the devil Money Vs Happiness (Nu:write Festival Zagreb & Batersea Art Centre); the one woman show Laundry (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 & Waterloo East Theatre) and Blind Eye, the world's first interactive 3D cinema advert, for Woman's Aid. Lucy is also a playwright, and wrote and performed the critically acclaimed The State Vs John Hayes, a psychological thriller based on research into American killers awaiting execution (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013 & Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath). Her second play The Stooge debuted recently at the Tristan Bates, the first of a series of plays set in the darkly comic Boondog Circus in 1930's America. She plays alto saxophone, often guesting with Jonny & The Baptists, and is also an illustrator.

Can you tell us about the storyline of Crystal Springs?

Crystal Springs leads you back along the path that led to a tragedy. It is a story about cyber bullying and how minor mistakes can escalate out of control.

What are the main themes and messages of this play?

I think there are many ways to bully a person, and this play looks at technology as a tool for bullying. The introduction of social media to young friendships is a really interesting and dangerous topic. I think it is very easy to misread messages, and it is also very easy to send them without realising the impact. I am an adult and I still occasionally get it wrong, get hurt, hurt others. I am an adult though, not a child. Not everyone can shrug it off.

Kathy Rucker has spoken previously about finding inspiration for her writing in the most unexpected places. What inspires you as a performer? 

I am always very inspired by true events. Real people in exceptional situations. Courage under fire.

Whilst working on a character, what kind of process do you use?

I'm embarrassed to say I'm still figuring out what that process might be. I am a big fan of doing research for a role, understanding the foundations of a story or a personality, but it can be different for each character. In one of my last shows I played a man and the easiest way into that character was simply through body language. That body language has actually proved quite hard to shake and occasionally, when I've had a drink, I find I have slipped back into it and am sitting like a cowboy.

You studied for a degree in Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University - a far cry away from theatre! How did you end up in Theatre?

I love art and I still work as a freelance illustrator, but I left Uni because it was just not what I wanted to do. I've always wanted to be an actor but it took me years to get the courage to do it. In school plays I was always bumped down to the minor roles, or no role, which rather knocked my confidence at the time. It was my mum who told me to risk it, that even if I was dreadful at least I would have tried. Clearly if I AM dreadful no one has told me yet, because I'm still acting years later.

As well as an Actor you are a playwright, how do you find inspiration when writing a play? 

I wrote my first play because it was the kind of show that I personally would love to see. So I am writing for myself as an audience member. A good friend told me, quite rightly "you can't be everything for everyone, or you'll be nothing for no one". So when I write, I remember this and am inspired to carry on. 

As a young performer, who did you aspire to be like? Do you still idolise them now?

I would love to be able to answer this question like Mathew McConaughey "Who's your hero? You know who it is? It's me in ten years", which I think is a brilliant answer. I mainly aspire to have a similar career to someone like, say, Sigourney Weaver. But I wouldn't aspire to BE her, she already does that much better than me.

Is there any person you’ve worked with that really sticks out as someone who has left a special mark on you? Or has changed the way you work?

I've been fortunate enough to have met a few of these people and I am fortunate enough to be meeting some of them right now. Working with director Jemma Gross for example. It is a way of working that is unlike what I have had before and has been incredibly inspiring.

Do you have any kooky pre-show rituals you could share with us? Any games you play with other members of the cast and crew to ease pre-performance jitters? 

With time I am sure I will accumulate some truly kooky habits. Ask me again in five years!

What advice would you give to anyone suffering from any form of bullying?

In my experience, speak up. If you don't feel able to talk to your loved ones, approach a helpline. There are people who really want to help you.

If you could play any role, what role would you play?

I would love to play a hero. Ripley in Alien or, strangely enough, I've always wanted to play Mad Max. 

Have you got any funny stories of things that have happened to you on stage?

It is usually people backstage that are determined to crack you up before you go on. I once performed in a play where I played the saxophone backstage as the show opened. The stage manager, a friend of mine, would sneak back stage and dance seductively. It is almost impossible play a wind instrument and laugh at the same time. I also couldn't tell her to go away as I was too busy playing.

Do you have any projects in the pipe line for when the show has finished?

I am absolutely delighted to be working with Epsilon on Anna Jordan's play "Chicken Shop" this September at Park Theatre. There will be more performances of my first play "The State Vs John Hayes" and I am looking forward to testing out my next two plays later this year and next. Fingers crossed.  

Crystal Springs in currently playing at the Park Theatre until 31st August 2014

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