Interview With…Ruth Lass

The actress spoke to Love London Love Culture about her current role in Equus, playing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

©The Other Richard

Could you tell me what audiences can expect from this production of Equus?Audiences can expect an original, exciting and unexpected interpretation of this beautiful play.

What was it that made you want to be involved with this production?I’d heard about Ned Bennett’s work and I really wanted to work with him. When I met Ned in the audition, his vision for the play was inspiring. I had also wanted very much to work at Theatre Royal Stratford East which is a very lovely theatre with an amazing history and to have the opportunity of touring with English Touring Theatre.

How was the rehearsal process?Rehearsals were joyful. We played a lot of games, lots of challenging physical warm ups with the whole team (director, assistant director, stage management and designers as well as the actors) which is unusual and wonderful because it really helps to create a company feel. We did a lot of acting exercises, played around with the scenes and generally threw ourselves into the crazy, creative process with gusto!

What are you most looking forward to about touring Equus?I’m looking forward to spending time in these beautiful cities, catching up with old friends, taking the play to new audiences and getting to spend some down time with the company.

Could you explain a bit more about your character Hesther and what she is like?Hesther is a warm, compassionate, fiercely intelligent and moral person, she loves her job as a magistrate and believes passionately in her duty of care to the vulnerable young people who come through her court. She is a close friend and confidante to the psychiatrist Martin Dysart. As he struggles through his crisis she tries to keep him focussed on priorities, ie caring for his patients, particularly Alan. Hesther cares a lot about Martin and values his unique skills as a psychiatrist.

What would you say makes Ned Bennett’s vision of the play special?Ned approaches things in a very creative way. It is at the same time forensic and wild. He gets to the heart of the play. He has stripped it down to its essence and enhanced the drama with unexpected and exciting images, supported by the incredible design team, set, lighting, music. The communication between the characters is laid bare, revealing complexity and depth.

By Emma Clarendon

Equus continues to play at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until 23rd March before continuing to tour until the 11th May.

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