Jack Studio Theatre - Edgar Allan Poe Double Bill - An Interview with Nell Hardy

Wonderfully talented actress Nell Hardy is currently hard at work bringing Masque Of The Red Death & The Fall Of The House Of Usher to life.  

She took a break to answer some questions for us...

What drew you to the project?
I did a Hallowe'en show last year that took inspiration from another Poe story and I fell morbidly in love with the world his language creates - so when I saw flyers for this around the Brockley Jack while I was performing in 'Macbeth' here in June, I was really keen to come back to this lovely theatre and bring him to life again.

What were you working on before?

I was performing in 'Macbeth' right here at the Brockley Jack until days before the audition for this! I was also wrapping up a show I directed for my company of young actors of 16-19 at Jacksons Lane in Highgate.

What is your role in the shows & how difficult is it juggling two very different styles?

In 'Masque' I play Duchess Boleville, a man who dresses as a woman and is in love with Norelle, the army commander. In 'Usher' I play Madeline Usher, the sister of the main character who shares a family curse with him but is trying her hardest, against his wishes, to live a life independent of it

I don't think they are stylistically that different - thematically, narratively, yes, but Poe's world is very distinctive. They're very different characters and the through-line of each requires very different approaches, but I think the important thing is to stay true to playing the real people in the script rather than trying to 'be gothic'. Poe's style is profound enough to come through without being laboured: our job as actors is to tell the stories.

Who is your favourite character? 
I identify most with Madeline. But I also have a massive soft spot for Bristol! Honestly I don't 'like' anyone in 'Masque', but I kind of think that's the point!

Which of the shows is your personal favourite and why?
I prefer 'Usher' as a story because I love an intimate family drama, but I love what both of our directors have done with our scripts equally so I really couldn't pick. Luckily, we do both each night, so you don't have to pick either!
What are you up to next?
 I'll be starting rehearsals soon to play Hansel in Pandemonium Performance Company's adaptation of some of 'Grimm's Fairy Tales', which will take place in Abney Park from 12-30th July. It's an outdoor promenade show, I did two of them with that company last year and both were awesome so I'm looking forward to it!

The Edgar Allan Poe Double Bill runs at Jack Studio Theatre 6 - 24 June 2017 at 7.45pm

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