Actress Denise Black may be a familiar face to television viewers for her roles in Coronation Street and Emmerdale, but it is her latest part in a reimagining of Chekhov’s masterpiece The Cherry Orchard to be performed at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre during October that she considers to be a dream role.
“Rainey is a gift of a part, she’s completely screwed, hilarious, witty, self-destructive, selfish and childish,” Denise tells Andy Howells with a hint of laughter, “all the qualities I want to get out of my system.”
The Cherry Orchard is produced by writer Gary Owen and director Rachel O’Riordan who are known for their work on Iphigenia in Splott and Killology. Like Chekhov’s original, the play is set in a time on the cusp of huge social change. Pre-Revolutionary Russia is exchanged for Pembrokeshire in the early days of Margaret Thatcher’s regime over Great Britain. Owen’s play looks back at recent history to see the world we know today taking root.
“it seems to be about a world that was in the past,” continues Denise, “so Gary seems to have soaked in everything Chekov and given himself a lot of liberty. The time of the play is 1982 so that is the point where rich people are struggling a bit in Thatcher’s Britain and wondering what is happening. With Chekhov it’s the left wing-ness which was coming in but with this version its Thatcher!”
Denise who was a struggling young actress back in the 1980s thinks the reimagining of The Cherry Orchard has a lot of relevance for today, “It just seems to be about here and now so you don’t struggle with any of the connections.” she says.
The cast joining Denise are Simon Armstrong as Rainey’s brother Gabriel, Morfydd Clark as Anya, Richard Mylan as Ceri, Hedydd Dylan as Valerie, Matthew Bulgo as Lewis and Alexandria Riley as Dottie.
“We’re having a ball,” says Denise of the cast who are putting the finishing touches to rehearsals, “and we want to translate that over to the audience.”
- The Cherry Orchard runs from October 13 to October 28
- For ticket information call 029 2064 6900 or visit shermantheatre.co.uk