May 4,2014
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I added more photos. 🙂
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April 9,2014
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Chekhov’s Three Sisters long to go to Moscow — and it seems that the cast of the production at the Southwark Playhouse would be happy to follow them there. Despite the escalating international crisis, both Paul McGann and Holliday Grainger — who star in Anya Reiss’s new translation — would take the show to Russia if asked.

“I think it’s hard,” said Grainger, who played Estella in 2012’s Great Expectations, “but you have to believe that art and culture can transcend politics.”

In a strong cast special mention goes to Holliday Grainger, whose performance as youngest sister Irina is especially impressive. She beautifully captures the spirit of Irina whilst maintaining her sweetness, even as her naivety and innocence give way to cynicism.

Grainger, Hallinan (quite some stage presence) and Taaffe make an attractive, intense-eyed trio, cleverly framed by Bolam in some startling tableaux.

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March 30,2014
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HOLLIDAY GRAINGER, OLIVIA HALLINAN, EMILY TAAFFE are about to star in Three Sisters at the Southwark Playhouse. I caught up with them during rehearsals to find out more about the show and themselves.

For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you tell me about yourself and some of your career highlights?

HG: I was first on stage in Dimetos at the Donmar Warehouse. I learned so much and feel like the skills were transferrable to the TV and film I’ve done since, including Bonnie and Clyde, The Borgias and Great Expectations.

OH: I started off in children’s television at the grand old age of ten so grew up on sets really, it was very normal to me. I had a very keen interest in acting at school and did lots of guest roles in programmes throughout. My big break was a Channel 4 drama called Sugar Rush which I filmed while studying for a degree in Drama and English at Manchester University. In it I played a young girl coming to terms with her sexuality. It struck a chord with audiences and was a great stepping stone for me! I then spent most of 4 years in a corset as the heroine Laura Timmins in a BBC period drama called Lark Rise To Candleford. I have been lucky enough to mix things up since, across theatre and screen. Nothing quite beats the buzz of performing live however!

ET: Well, I’ve been very fortunate to work at some very special places with some very special people. My first job though, at the National, playing one of the leads on the Olivier stage (in Nation) is something that meant a great deal to me. I was also lucky enough to play Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard at the National with people like Zoe Wanamaker and Ken Cranham, actors who I completely admire, and directed by the incredible Howard Davies. And of course, playing Viola and Miranda at the RSC is something I had hardly dared to dream of doing but was allowed to! I particularly love working on new plays so working with people like Lizzie Nunnery, Conor McPherson and now Anya is something I always relish. But to be honest, every job I’ve done has been special in its own way, I’m a lucky girl!

Three Sisters is an old Play about the class system in Russia. This production has been reworked for the 21st Century. How does it differ from the original?

HG: Although Anya has set our world in an ex pat community in the contemporary Middle East, I think Chekhov’s themes and feelings still emanate from her adaptation.

OH: That would be telling! Anya has been very clever in updating the piece but keeping the very essence of Chekhov’s words and themes. It’s set in an embassy abroad…that’s all you’re getting!

ET: Well on a superficial level the setting is different. We are in the Middle East, longing for London. And the language has been updated as well but the story is essentially the same. The themes of longing and loss and self-sabotage which are in both the original and Anya’s version are what make the play as relevant now as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

The play centres around three sisters who are very different from one another. Which of the characters do you identify most with yourself?

HG: I try to have Irina’s positivity and work ethic.. try.

OH: Olga is quite far removed from myself, I’d say I have more of Masha and Irina in me but that’s giving me more of a challenge… she is keeping the sisters together and has the matriarchal role. I am on of four sisters: I’m looking to my oldest sister for inspiration!

ET: I’m going to have to say Masha right now, aren’t I!! She and I both have a sharp tongue on occasion and a temper! She’s also very protective of her sisters and her brother, something I can totally identify with. And she’s passionate, which I like to think I am! But I think there’s something in all three young women that one can identify with…they are all at different stages of their lives and want different things and I think as you move through life your priorities change, which means that anyone could see themselves in a sister I think, depending on where they are at.

If I asked your friends to describe you in three words, what might they say?

HG: grounded, genuine, spontaneous

OH: Kind (I hope!), sensitive, scatty! Ha.

ET: Hmm….I think maybe outspoken(/tactless), funny (on occasion) and loyal.

What has been the funniest/most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

HG: I once corpsed at the smell of mushroom soup in in a dinner scene. It was usually carrot and coriander. I had to miss my next few lines.

OH: Oh god… it was funny and mortifying… I was doing a play at Trafalgar Studios and managed to get lost in the dark backstage (the corridors take some getting used to!). My poor co star had to improvise for a while… then I appeared in a very flustered state half dressed in a new costume… I think we got away with it! I managed to fall over on a stage once too, slipped on a prop… awkward!

ET: There’s been a fair amount of corpsing in various shows but the thing that springs to mind was walking out on stage in the wrong bit of the curtain call on the opening night of Nation like a lost child!

Do you have a favourite play or musical that means a lot to you?

HG: The Sound of Music

OH: Les Mis was the first musical I watch and I found it extraordinarily moving. Too many plays to mention… recently I saw Mojo and thought it was brilliant, the acting was sublime and I was totally transported into Soho at that time!

ET: The first play I remember seeing was Sive, by John B Keane so that means a lot because that’s the first time I can remember deciding that I wanted to be an actress.

Three Sisters 300×300 West End Wilma

If you could be a man for the day, what theatre role would you like to have a go at playing?

OH: An obvious answer, but it would have to be Hamlet!!

HG: Iago

ET: That’s a tricky one. I’m actually enjoying all the cross casting that’s going on at the moment so I’m hoping I wouldn’t have to be a man to one day play Hamlet!

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March 25,2014
Tania   /   0 Comments   /   theatre   theme

Hey 🙂 I’ve added new photos of Holliday on Three Sisters 2014.

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Posters
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Promo/photoshoot
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March 11,2014
Tania   /   0 Comments   /   theatre

Cliquer pour voir l'image en taille réelle

They are three of the most famous siblings in theatre – and they’ve now been updated for the 21st century by the award-winning young playwright Anya Reiss.

Holliday Grainger, star of Mike Newell’s Great Expectations and The Borgias, heads a cast also including Paul McGann and Olivia Hallinan, from Lark Rise to Candleford, in a new version of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters that will premiere in London next month.

Instead of languishing a long way from Moscow, the sisters Irina, Olga and Masha now live in the British ex-pat community of an unspecified Middle Eastern country to account for the isolation of the Russian original and the snobbery towards the locals.

And Grainger, 25, who will next shoot the long-awaited film version of Tulip Fever, said it was the lure of Chekhov with the modern twist that has brought her back to theatre for the first time since she appeared at the Donmar five years ago.

I really love the play and I’ve been wanting to do stage for ages. This is my second or third time auditioning for a version so third time lucky,” she said.

She plays the youngest daughter, Irina, who “is the voice of positivity and youth at the start of the play but at the end she’s almost as cynical and jaded as her sisters – I feel like that is what happens to us all”.

Olivia Hullinan, 29, whose previous roles include the TV adaptation of Julie Burchill’s Sugar Rush, said there was female solidarity in the rehearsal room. “Holliday and I have sort of known each other for years. We have mutual friends and we both started in kids’ television. We really just clicked. And Anya’s such an exciting playwright.”

And Emily Taaffe, 30, said: “It’s good to play parts of young women written by a young woman as opposed to by someone who has no idea what a young woman is.”

It is Reiss’s second venture into Chekhov, after The Seagull, since she was named most promising playwright at the 2010 Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Spur of the Moment.

“I’ve learned a lot about the way to write through having to study the way someone writes so carefully,” she said.

And they had “lucked out” with the cast. “I’m sitting in a room with Paul McGann from Doctor Who and Withnail and I. I don’t know how I’m supposed to work.”

Three Sisters runs at the Southwark Playhouse from April 3 to May 3.

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