Lucy Carless: Sea Fret
By Caro Moses | Published on Thursday 23 March 2017
The next show to go up over at the Old Red Lion Theatre is a new four hander by Tallulah Brown, focusing on human relationships and the erosion of our coastlines, and which examines the way in which people define themselves by the land they live on.
The cast is led by TV star Lucy Carless, who plays Mattie Hawkins in the rather successful Channel 4 sci-fi series ‘Humans’. I arranged to have a quick chat ahead of the play’s opening night.
CM: Can you start by telling us a little about the plot of ‘Sea Fret’? Where is it set, and what is it about?
LC: ‘Sea Fret’ is based on the escalating state of erosion happening to the Suffolk coastline. Along with this it also takes a look at how we define ourselves and is a story of two friends growing and changing into young adults as they deliberate their future and where they view themselves in the world.
CM: You play the central character, Ruby. What sort of person is she?
LC: Ruby is well armoured, seemingly unafraid, but actually quite fearful and guarded about revealing her emotions and vulnerabilities. She is fiery and enigmatic as well as incredibly headstrong when she puts her mind to something. She’s a lot of fun to play as she gets up to mischief navigating and narrating the stories of the beach.
CM: What attracted you to the role, and the play?
LC: The excellent writing of Tallulah initially: natural and fun dialogue but also a play that was dealing with a current and pressing issue that I didn’t know much about originally. It’s a brilliant story, and after meeting the director Carla Kingham, seeing how great she is and finding out more about the incredible creative team, I was sold.
CM: Is this a play about people, or does it have a broader, political message?
LC: Both. Fundamentally it’s a beautiful look at how we mark out who we are by the land we own or the future we choose, but set in a place where the ground that the characters live on is literally falling away, and sees characters struggling with holding onto their identity as well as their homes.
CM: Can you tell us a bit about the playwright, Tallulah Brown? Has she been much involved at the production stage?
LC: Tallulah is amazing and a master of many talents (definitely worth listening to her band Trills!!) She’s been super involved and worked closely with us all to iron things out and help develop the characters she created.
CM: This is your theatrical debut, which seems interesting, because the majority of actors probably make their stage debut before appearing on screen. Are you finding it a big change from working on a TV programme?
LC: Yeah, it’s perhaps a little unorthodox. I’d done a bit of theatre at Nottingham TV Workshop and Nottingham Youth Theatre but nothing quite on this scale, and no more than three performances! It’s a totally new experience but I’m thoroughly enjoying it. and I’m learning so much, it feels good to develop new skills and branch out into different mediums of acting.
CM: Did you always want to be an actor? Who or what inspired you to take up this sort of career?
LC: For as long as I remember it was that or become JK Rowling or Michaela Strachan, which is a little infeasible! I watched Kate Winslet in ‘The Reader’ (probably at much too young an age) but her performance moved me so much and was a real inspiration in pursuing acting as a career, particularly films.
CM: What first steps did you take in beginning your career? How did you land that first role?
LC: I joined The Television Workshop in Nottingham when I was 13 and it kind of went from there. Workshop is a great form of indirect training and opportunity to get auditions. Sam Donovan who directed the first episode of ‘Humans’, had worked with some Workshoppers before so came to Workshop to audition for ‘Humans’ and fortunately he liked me!
CM: Can you see yourself doing more theatre in the future? What other ambitions do you have?
LC: Absolutely. I’ve enjoyed the rehearsal process so much and felt like I’ve learnt something new everyday so would love to potentially do some more theatre in the future. I’m also still contemplating taking my studies further and going to University to study English Literature but for now willing to see what the future holds for acting.
CM: What’s coming up after ‘Sea Fret’?
LC: For now, off to Italy in May and very much looking forward to some time in the sun. After that the future is my own big exciting and slightly scary oyster.
‘Sea Fret’ is on at the Old Red Lion theatre from 28 Mar-22 Apr. Click this link here for more info and to book tickets.