Love London Love Culture caught up with actor Maryse Baya, who plays Puck in Intermission Youth theatre’s new production MSND staged at the Chelsea Theatre until 3 December.
What can you tell us about Intermission Youth’s reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream titled MSND? The new version MSND is a contemporary piece that focuses on issues in today’s society such as drug abuse, betrayal in friendship, influence and family dynamics. And the beauty of this version is that we have not taken away from Shakespeare at all but added our intermission spice from the cohort in the beginning of the programme & throughout with games, improvisation and storytelling. It did not lie on the writer alone, we all contributed.
How does it feel to be part of this production? am grateful to be part of the 2022 production. Seeing the script flourish during rehearsals, meeting the creative team and contributing our ideas. Helping out with the set was an experience I never had. As actors, we had the opportunity to see this built from scratch and always been filled in with the latest updates. It’s not like any other production, we always voiced our concerns and progress to the team and vice versa.
What can you tell me about your character Puck? Puck is a very interesting role. She’s a very energetic character who always seeks to put her hands on something even if it wasn’t ordered by Oberon – her secret crush and best friend. She’s addicted to any type of drug, pills, marajuana, alcohol just so she isn’t sober to confront the real world. Very childlike, she’s mischievous and wants to cause chaos at any given time and put the blame on anyone but herself. Throughout the play, Puck is naive to her own needs because she’s too preoccupied to make Oberon happy. This new world she emerges in allows her to be her true self, as though she thinks, and causes destruction to the point where she destroys the people around her.
How have you found the experience of being part of the Intermission Youth Group? Life changing as an actor and an individual. It has taught me to embrace and accept people that comes my way, because I now know to turn judgement into curiosity as Intermission Youth’s Artistic Director Darren Raymond and Nana Antwi-Nyanin who heads up Youth Engagement have taught us. The organisation has helped me to spread love because that’s all we have that could make a difference in the world. As an actor, I have learnt that I should always be playful in the rehearsal room because you always find gems. The facilitators are more than just that, they’re family, father figures and mentors. They push us so hard to become the best we could be in today’s society and it drives me.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of this production? Performing on stage and discovering new things on the spot and just having fun with it. I’m looking forward to the choreography as well, we added our African-Caribbean heritage on stage and that Shakespearean fans have never seen.
By Emma Clarendon