Q&A with Games For Lovers’ Evanna Lynch
| By Jade Ali
James Seabright (The Falcon's Malteser) presents a new production by Ryan Craig at The Vaults in London and it has been heating up this summer! This dynamic new play sees a group of four millennials in a game of lust and bitter rivalry as they search for lasting love. Join them this summer to see if they can win in this game of love as they try to figure out the rule of modern relationships. Games For Lovers tickets are on sale for the run ending on 25 August so grab them whilst you can!
Playing one of the millennials is Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch and I was lucky enough to ask her some questions all about her new role, her acting career and of course, Luna Lovegood. Read below to see what Evanna had to say…
Q&A with Evanna Lynch
1. What is it that excites you about returning to the stage?
I think the thing I love the most about taking on a new play is the camaraderie built between a small group of actors and creatives working day by day to create something new and interesting; I just fall in love with that group dynamic. I think I’ve spent my whole life looking for my artistic family and that’s sort of what theatre has given me, much more than tv or film. With film or tv most of the rehearsal is done in private, before you meet the cast and crew and so the bonding process, developing your characters’ relationships can feel quite contrived. So, I’m just really happy and grateful to be working with another group of passionate, talented, committed actors for the summer. And I’m thrilled to be doing comedy for the first time. I adore comedy but have never got to try my hand at it.
2. Having acted for the big screen, small screen and stage, do you feel you prefer one over the others?
There are elements I like about all of them. As I said, the rehearsal process and family bond created between a theatre company is something I adore, and that I miss in film and tv. And I find the discipline of stage acting to be really challenging and good for me. It is harder work for the actor, I think because you have to reinvigorate yourself every night, your imagination is working in overdrive to find new fascinating details with the same material you’ve been obsessing over for weeks. But I feel certain that all the times I’ve been on stage and especially all the times I’ve screwed up on stage has made me a better actor on film.
That said, I think, artistically, I prefer film for that reason because every day is different and new and you don’t have to contort your imagination to be so invested in every moment, to be truthful, to be present. It’s much easier to be present on film, I find, the pace of it means you just are constantly finding new things. But yeah, the beautiful thing about stage is you get to grow with your character, to settle into them. There have been several film projects I’ve done where I felt I had so many revelations about my character after we’ve stopped shooting, which is an awful feeling! And that doesn’t happen on stage, I usually feel like I’ve completed my journey with the character at the end of a play. As for tv, I haven’t done much of it and that’s what I most want to do next. I feel so envious of those actors who get to develop and layer and live with their characters for years on end! I’d love to put that kind of time and life investment into a character, to grow with them. But ultimately, I just like to mix it up, and I’m happy to be acting in any medium.
3. With any stage production, an audience’s reaction is important but do you find the style of Games For Lovers puts a bigger emphasis on that?
Absolutely! I think the layout of the stage makes it feel so much like the audience is in our own minds, that they’re seeing our most embarrassing, delicate moments, our vulnerabilities and so it does feel incredibly exposing up there. These characters are wrestling with their awkward struggle to love and be loved, with this desire that is propelling them to do stupid, hurtful and brave things, and so personally I feel really emboldened as Martha when they’re laughing along, when they want her to break out of her shyness, when they want to see her find love.
4. This show is about a group of millennials; do you think this will draw in a younger audience and do you think that’s a good thing for theatre?
I hope so! I’ve certainly warned my parents this is not their ideal show, though they are coming. I feel like I’m going to have to sit down and brief them for game 3, that’s going to offend their precious Catholic hearts.
I feel this show is a perfect representation of the chaos and pressure any late twenty/early thirty-something feels in regard to romance. Being 27 (gah!) I’ve noticed among my friends that there is this sudden urge to knuckle down and find someone like we’re running out of time, like all the good ones are going to be taken. And I think Games For Lovers very aptly captures that milieu and makes fun of it. I hope young people come to see it and leave laughing at their own love lives and holding those worries more lightly. As for younger audiences coming to see shows, yes, of course, that’s a good thing. I think our generation can be a bit too politically correct at times, a bit too hypersensitive and we forget people are messed up and prejudiced and that those prejudiced people are broken people who need help too, that blanking them out doesn’t fix anything really. I think theatre is a healthy and interesting space to challenge that hypersensitivity, to provoke us into examining people through lenses other than the right, diplomatic, palatable one. It’s a place to develop compassion for broken people and we all need help with that.
5. This is a brand-new play; do you prefer that, and do you find it easier to put your own stamp on it?
It doesn’t make much difference to me, either way, you have to start with a blank slate, you must honour your original impression of and feelings towards the character. The very nice thing about doing a new play is that Ryan was a bit more willing to reword certain things and for that reason, Martha has gotten significantly more Irish, I think. There were a couple of expressions that I just couldn’t conceive of saying in my natural accent, and the team liked her being Irish, so we had the beautiful liberty of being able to adapt a few words in those situations. There are no lines I dread saying in this play and that’s a joy.
6. What is it about your character that you find makes them relatable and/or different?
Martha tends to live in her head too much, a quality that is in direct conflict with her ambitions and romantic idealism. Personally, I find that so relatable. She creates these dream-scenarios of dating the gorgeous and enigmatic doctor at her hospital and yet she can’t say one word to him. I was definitely that girl all through my teens and early twenties. A few years ago, I actually thought a certain actor was my soulmate, I obsessively read his interviews and listened to the same music as him and I was convinced all that was left was for us to meet. And then I met him and I literally couldn’t have one conversation with him, I completely shut down, words just died in my mouth. Needless to say, romance didn’t blossom. I completely forgot there was another element to the equation of love - myself. I hadn’t thought about what I would bring to that relationship, who I’d be. So, I can verify that Martha is very relatable and there are lots of us out there, stalking famous unavailable men on the internet, in bed, with our cats.
7. You’re popularly known for your role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, do you find that audiences have expectations when you take on other roles or are your fans excited to see you in new works?
I think my fans are quite open-minded! The only problem is sometimes due to playing Luna I attract a lot of very young people and most of my recent work is not suitable for very young people. When we did Disco Pigs in London a couple of years ago, which is a play about two manic, troubled teenagers who get their kicks from drinking, bullying and beating up their peers, it was my first time on stage in London so a lot of young people came to see it and I remember feeling a bit guilty about that! Sometimes I worry about the fact that I’m toying with very precious childhood memories, that people have transferred to me because of Luna. But at the end of the day, that can’t be my responsibility, I have to explore all sides of myself and Luna is just one facet of my identity. I think the theme that runs through my work consistently and the roles I play are characters who just don’t fit in, but have an innate confidence in themselves, so in many ways people who loved Luna and grew up with her are very well acquainted with those feelings and will hopefully find something new in the work I’m doing now.
8. You were also in a Harry Potter musical, A Very Potter Senior Year, would you like to be in a musical again and if so, what would be your dream role?
I would love to be in a musical, that would be a dream in and of itself! Dancing is my absolute favourite thing to do so to be on a show where I got to do that every night would be incredible. However, I don’t have the strongest voice so it’s unlikely that will ever happen. If it did, I would like to be in Cats! No particular character, any slinky cat! Surely my decades spent studying the precise movements and habits of cats would compensate for my patchy vocals?! Or Roxy in Chicago, she’s always captivated me for her drive to stand out at whatever cost and not be overlooked, her ruthlessness is fascinating to me.
9. What is it about Games For Lovers that captures you and why are you excited to get stuck into your role?
I love the role I’m playing because she is a complicated and mixed up soul and it’s so very rare you get to play a character that isn’t written in clearly defined lines. She is confident but awkward, whip-smart but socially inept, ambitious but terrified of putting herself out there. She really doesn’t make sense on paper and I very much relate to that. I’m a total introverted bookish cat lady who gets anxiety about meeting strangers but on the other hand, I’m an actor who is desperate to connect with other people and spend my working life telling stories in the public eye. People are desperate to label others and to label themselves but I just find the truth of humanity lies in our contradictions, so I love when I find characters that reflect that.
I think Games For Lovers truly captures how messy and complicated romantic relationships are, how there isn’t a perfect formula to it and how two broken dysfunctional people can still love each other and be alright partners. It smashes up the idealistic notion that to be loved by someone you have to love yourself first, which, I think, is good. But neither does it portray romantic relationships as the be-all and end-all, happily ever after. Love just isn’t that tidy.
10. In three words, why should audiences get their tickets for Games For Lovers?
Scooters! Bubbles! Heartbreak!
If you’re after a hot new show this summer, then you’ll want to book your tickets for Games For Lovers whilst you can and save up to £14 when you get tickets with London Theatre Direct as part of our 20th-anniversary celebrations #LTD20 The Seabright production is currently running at the underground theatre The Vaults in London Waterloo. The tantalising play comes to an end on 25 August so book now whilst there’s still time.
🎫 Book your Games For Lovers tickets here.