Interview With…Gemma Barnett

The actress spoke to LLLC’s Emma Clarendon about starring in  Papercut Theatre’s production of Hannah Nixon’s play at The Vaults Festival. 

Thank you so much for talking to me. Could you explain a bit more what ‘Lola’ is about? Thanks for talking to me! Lola is about a teenage girl traumatised by the male gaze. It’s about society’s relationship with breasts/boobs/tits/jugs/(insert.) It’s about boundaries and the responsibility of authority figures. More specifically Lola’s two teachers. It’s about a girl driven to extreme violence.

What were your initial thoughts on the play?My initial thoughts on the play were how accurately it depicted the inner turmoil of an 18 year old girl. In all honesty I felt like ‘f*** someone watched me go through puberty’. The play is a far more extreme version of anything I ever experienced but really shows the effects of being sexualised before you’re completely ready to embody or embrace that sexuality. It’s traumatic. And affects a woman’s relationship with the world and men. 

Could you tell me a bit more about the character that you play? Lola is 18. She’s highly intelligent and witty. She’s impulsive and a bit of a misfit. She’s anxious and totally ill at ease with her own body. Oh and she has massive boobs.

When you read the play – what was the one thing that you took away from it?  It’s an angry cry for change. And I wished I’d had it to read when I was a teenager.

How have you found working on the production so far? Dreamy. Amazing script. Amazing director. Charged and provoking discussions. And I have a huge amount to learn from actors’ Rob Ostlere and Joanne Ferguson. They are the bomb.

How excited are you that the show is being performed as part of The Vaults Festival? Very excited. I love the Vault Festival. It’s like the Edinburgh fringe but you can go home to your own bed. In all seriousness I think it’s such an incredible, affordable platform for new work and I love soaking up as much of it as possible. I’m excited for people to see this show. I think and hope it will speak to a lot of women in the same way it spoke to me. 

What can audiences expect from the production? Expectations are silly. Just buy a ticket?

By Emma Clarendon

Lola will play as part of The Vault Festival from the 23rd to the 27th January.

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