Interview With…Michele Austin

The actress chatted to us about starring in Jamie Lloyd’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre.

Hi Michele, thanks so much for talking to me. For those who aren’t familiar with Cyrano de Bergerac – what can they expect? One of the most iconic love stories told in a completely contemporary way. The play
underlined the beauty and strength of the spoken word…And James McAvoy.

What were your initial impressions of the story when you read it? I already knew the story because of the brilliant film starring Gerard Depardieu, but what struck me with this script was how incredible modern it is. Martin Crimp has been very inspired by spoken word, rap battles and grime rhythm.

What was it that made you want to be involved with this production? Just about everything made me want to be a part of this production. The script was so unlike anything I’d seen. It’s not only moving but incredibly funny. The rhythm and rhymes are a brilliant challenge for the actors. And The Jamie Lloyd Company is an amazing company to be a part of. It is diversity in actual practise.

Could you tell me more about your character Ragueneau? In the original version by Rostand, Ragueneau was a man. He is a baker who is a friend and ally to Cyrano. In our version he is a she, Martin has created a character who is a poet and cafe owner. She is part of the alternative world that Cyrano inhabits. Leila Ragueneau is a much cooler than me.

What has it been like working with Jamie Lloyd? Working with Jamie has been so exciting and challenging. His vision has taken me somewhere completely unexpected. This version is so original in its approach in every way.

How have you found working on the production so far? It’s been fun and hard work. Which is how it should be. There is a sense of play in the
rehearsal room because of the language and structure of the piece. I’m really enjoying exploring using my voice in a different way.

What are you most looking forward to about presenting this story for audiences?After several weeks in the rehearsal, room you are aching for a live audience reaction. The Jamie Lloyd Company has amazing £15 performances for young people and key workers and I think those nights are going to be especially exciting and provoking.

By Emma Clarendon

 Cyrano de Bergerac will play at the Playhouse Theatre from the 27th November until the 29th February 2020. Tickets are available to buy through ATG Tickets. You can also book through Love London Love CultureLove Theatre.comEncore TicketsSee TicketsFrom the Box OfficeTheatre Tickets or Last

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