Interviews - Rebecca Faeryn
Hello Rebecca. Thank you so much for talking to us today. I'll kick off very simply, as this is a Shakespeare feature film, by asking what the best Shakespeare performance you've seen is?
I’ve seen a number of Shakespeare plays at the Globe, as I’ve lived in London nearly all my life. I think my favourite has to be "A Midsummer Nights’ Dream" performed by the RSC in 2012. It was also the first Shakespeare play I ever saw, when I was about 5 years old, when a group of actors performed it at my school. So it has a special place in my heart.
Did you have any experience with "Timon of Athens" before this project?
No, I hadn’t actually heard of it, but of course looked into it for the audition. I love that it’s Karl Marx’s favourite play, and I think the key theme of the corrupting force of money is probably even more relevant today than it was in either Shakespeare’s (or Marx’s) time.
Specifically focusing on “Misanthropos” now. The role of ritual is key in this film. How do you feel your character is part of/or detached from such ceremonies?
Ritual is a running theme throughout the film and adds a layer of mystery to it. Timandra plays an important part in the creation of this, particularly in the ritualistic dance she performs with Phrynia before Alcibiades leave for war. I also think there is an echo of ritual in the shared speech of the two courtesans, which creates an eerie, enchanting effect.
You're also a trained dancer, how do you think your movement background will aid you in finding that smooth fluidity in your duel performance with another actor?
Having grown up training as a dancer, I have a good sense of rhythm which definitely helps with the musicality of Shakespeare’s writing but there’s a resistance in the stillness necessary for film, as my body wants to move with the rhythm too. There is also a responsiveness in dance and a level of trust needed with other dancers that supports this role. I think it will definitely help with the fluidity between Timandra and Phrynia, especially coupled with the dances the characters perform together.
What challenged you about this role?
The biggest challenge for me so far has been working on the relationships and interactions with other characters, particularly with Phrynia and Alcibiades, without having rehearsals with the other actors and bouncing ideas off each other. So I’m really looking forward to starting to prepare with Astrid from February, working on the closeness of the two courtesans and exploring how we bring that into the performance.
Staying with Shakespeare, is there any Shakespeare role (which you haven't played) that you would love to do?
I would love to play Lady Macbeth. Not only is she one of the strongest female characters in Shakespeare’s plays, but I think it would be really fun to explore and play with her decent into madness.
You're in a very unique situation, as you're joining filming half way through, rehearsing one-on-one over Video Call with Maximianno Cobra. Is this the new normal for actors, do you think, in these COVID times?
I hope not! I think the beauty of acting is playing off the other actors you’re working with and making something collaborative, which has been impossible with the current situation. It’s been good getting one-on-one rehearsal time with Maximianno though, so that’s a plus, but video calls can only really be a short-term solution to the problems that have arisen from the pandemic, not a replacement to in-person rehearsals.
What's it like to work with Maximianno Cobra?
It’s been great working with Maximianno, but it’s strange to have still never met in person! It’s great to discuss his ideas and vision for the film in our online rehearsals together and really understand how my role fits into this. He’s been really supportive while I’ve been trying to catch-up with everything as I joined the film part way through production. It’s also great to see how he’s bringing music and dance into the project, and working together on ideas for that.
How do you feel about your role? Do you like your character? Was it easy to relate to your character's motives and intentions?
Courtesan’s were, for large periods of our history, one of the few groups of women that were allowed an education and they used this knowledge to advance their position in society, but were also very much at the mercy of their clients’ generosity and the endurance of their beauty to live. For the time I feel that this is a position I feel more connected to than the women who would have been deprived of an education, and I can relate to the feeling of not being free to pursue your own path because money has had to take priority. I feel it’s also a motive and intention many people would be able to relate to, having to impress to secure the favour of someone influential for your work.
Lastly, what will happen to your character AFTER? Do you feel there is hope for your character/for the world, by the end of the film?
I do not feel there is a particularly happy ending for Timandra after this story ends. As a courtesan, when her beauty fades she would have most likely been cast aside by the court and had very little alternative options for making money. The world is still very much ruled by money and while beauty gives Timandra status and access to wealth, when this is gone her position will almost certainly go with it.