The actress chatted to Emma Clarendon about starring in Different Sand at the Bunker Theatre.
Hi Kheira could you tell me a little bit more about what Different Sand is about? Different Sands is a tale of two half-Algerian, half-English sisters named Linda and Amira. Both live in north London and are almost on the tipping point of a big change which affects both of their lives. Even if you are not linked to Algeria or Islam, I think the theme of doing anything for your family is universal and is ultimately what the play is about.
How do you feel about being part of bringing the play to the Bunker Theatre? The Bunker Theatre is a fantastic secret little venue which you could easily walk past. Yet when you walk in, you can really understand how it’s managed to make a reputation for itself within its short span of opening in 2016. I’ve seen a couple of plays there and have really liked the look of the expansive space, so the chance to now play in that space is very exciting for me as a performer. The world in ‘Different Sand’ is very expansive, so it’s a match made in heaven really.
What made you want to be part of this production? I have previously worked with Samia’s writing before, when I played Suad in her short play ‘Middle Ground’ so I was already familiar with her distinctive style. Then I came across the idea for ‘Different Sand’ and wanted to work on an Algerian story, particularly a female narrative with an all-female team. It’s also a nice twist to I think the classic perception of Islamic culture and should be something the audience has probably not seen before, but can definitely relate to.
Could you tell me a bit more about the character you play? Amira is quite an average London primary school teacher, who is not only balancing her job but also her family, millenial life and her Algerian culture. I like her protective nature of Linda, but she’s also tough and can stand for herself at times – which is what makes her character’s journey very watchable.
How would you describe the play? I think the play is a breathe of fresh air. It’s brilliantly written, hilarious and touching where it needs to be. Also, as an all-Algerian play with an all-Algerian cast and crew on a London stage – I think it’s a bit of a rarity. As I am linked to Algeria and although I’m not religious, I understand the importance of faith in the country – I feel like we don’t always get to see a play which is lighthearted and youthful against this context. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that the media paints a particular picture of Algeria and Islam, which is very limited. Therefore to find a play like this should hopefully shift a few opinions of the contextual backdrop.
What can we expect from the production? A lot of laughs hopefully! Of course we’re biased, but I think we’ve taken a lot of references from modern life which should hopefully get the audience giggling. It is a comedy and I think it’s the conflicting lifestyles of the sisters that really come out when they argue (inevitable as sisters do!) which I think is interesting for an audience.
By Emma Clarendon
Different Sand will play at the Bunker Theatre from the 8th to the 16th September.