Q&A with Yasmin Paige from the West End’s Actually
| By Jade Ali
Making its West End premiere in just over 2-weeks time is Anna Ziegler’s provocative play Actually, where stars Yasmin Paige and Simon Manyonda will take to the stage in Trafalgar Studios 2. The play made its world premiere in Los Angeles in 2017, 2 years before this London transfer. Whilst it’s been a long wait, Ziegler’s piece will only stick around for a limited engagement, so you’ll want to act quickly to catch it whilst you can.
Tickets for Actually’s West End short run are being snapped up, this daring and tense show has got everyone intrigued to find out what really happened on that one significant night. Before we get sunk into the suspense and mystery of Actually, I recently got to ask the starring leads some questions. If you missed our insightful Q&A with Simon Manyonda then be sure to check that out and read below to see what Yasmin Paige had to say…
Q&A with Actually star Yasmin Paige
1. You’ve been acting from a young age, and have experience in film, tv, theatre and radio, what is it about a new acting job that still gets you excited, if anything?
Yasmin: Every job presents a different challenge. It’s exciting to work with new people, to improve your skill level, and to explore new stories.
2. Following on from your wide range of acting experience, would you say you have a favourite field (screen or stage? Etc)?
Y: I think they are all challenging in different ways and require slightly different skills. The great thing about theatre is that you get a longer rehearsal period and it is much more collaborative because of the nature of that process.
3. If you could play any iconic role within theatre, who would it be and why?
Y: Probably Eponine in Les Miserables - Just because I love that show and I want to sing ‘On My Own’!
4. Following on, would you prefer to be acting on a West End or Broadway stage or even a tour?
Y: All would be amazing! However, being from London myself, performing in the West End is special for me.
5. What was your initial impression when you read the script for Actually the first time? Did you instinctively believe one side of the story and how did it make you feel?
Y: When I first read Actually, I was struck by how nuanced it is in understanding certain sexual experiences and putting it out there in a relatable way. Sex between two people is a complex thing; (although it is presented to us culturally as very simple and often based solely on animalistic lust), but when you add circumstance and individuals to the mix with all their needs, wants, shortfalls, and desires, it can become convoluted. Sex takes place for many reasons and Anna Ziegler fully comprehends and respects that in a way I have never seen before. It was the first time I had read something that spoke so fluently about the type of sexual misconduct that women experience every day, sometimes overtly and sometimes subtly but the effect is long-lasting.
6. Do you think it’s important for plays, and other creative outlets, to explore dark subjects like gender and race politics and sexual consent, and why?
Y: I think it is important for art to discuss things that are happening around us, things that are taboo or underdeveloped in our culture. It helps to shed light on what is important, but it also facilitates discussion and growth.
7. Is there a subject that has affected your life (gender, race, etc) that you would like to explore through your work?
Y: I think the human experience is so vast and varied that all the jobs I have done have already helped me to explore myself in relation to the world I live in. It is very important to keep exploring gender, race, sexuality, class, culture, and all things human in art. This is how change happens; first in the mind of one, then in the minds of many.
8. If you didn’t act, what do you think you’d be doing? Would you still want to be in a creative field, or could you see yourself in a “straight” job?
Y: If I didn’t act, I think I would work with children. I would probably be a nursery teacher.
9. In three words, why do you think people should see Actually at London’s Trafalgar Studios?
Y: I think people should come and see Actually because it is; challenging, relevant, and powerful.
Actually’s West End premiere will see American playwright Anna Ziegler’s thought-provoking play run at Trafalgar Studios 2 for a strictly limited one-month engagement. Be quick and book your Actually tickets with prices starting at just £24!
🎫 Book tickets to see Actually at Trafalgar Studios 2 here.