Birmingham born Cherrelle Skeete is currently playing Marcia in the revised version of classic Russian play, The Seagull.
This adapted version by Olivier-award winning playwright Simon Stephens, takes Anton Checkov’s much celebrated masterpiece and brings it sharply to modern day. Tackling themes of unrequited love, creative jealousy, guns, vodka and art, The Seagull effortlessly switches between the ridiculous and the profound, forensically examining the transcendence and destructiveness of love. The burning need to create Art and how harshly that need can be crushed permeates throughout the play.
Skeete has enjoyed a great screen and stage career, notably as Dee Dee Fearon, a police officer in 70’s Dudley-based television film Danny and The Human Zoo, directed by BAFTA break-through Destiny Ekaragha and written by Lenny Henry and more recently Rose Granger-Weasley in the original West End production of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.
#TBB10 spoke to the actress to find out more about this latest project.
1# Hey Cherrelle, let’s get straight into it, tell us about your character Marcia, what’s her purpose in this world of The Seagull and her goal?
Marcia wants to be remembered as significant in a world where she feels like her voice feels lost. That and she is absolutely in love with Konstantin
2# How did you develop Marcia and define her characteristics?
I’d describe Marcia as that millennial black girl who you know won’t ever be able to buy a house, the older generation passed on some bad habits. She has a big voice if only people listened.
3# Tell us a bit about this version of this classic play, how has it been repurposed for a modern audience?
Simon Stephens has done a great job with the adaptation and Sean Holmes has crafted a world that is both Chekhovian and very much today. It’s funny and heartfelt with some great performances.
4# How was it working with this fantastic cast, had you worked with Adelayo Adedayo and Michele Austin before?
Haven’t worked with either of these Queens, but knew of their work. I’d watched Michele in “The House That Will Not Stand” at the Tricycle which was one of the best plays I have seen. Adelayo was on my screen in Some Girls which I loved, it just reminded me of school. I am privileged to work with them.
5# Some positive casting also, does race play a part in the narrative from a colourblind casting perspective?
I wouldn’t say it’s a theme, but any audience member will read into what they read into, we can’t help that.
6# This is obviously a lot smaller production than Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, what’s the biggest difference outside of maybe the obvious set size and maybe cast size, are there any stark differences or when it comes to playing a role generally the same rules apply?
The same rules apply, we are building this world together using the words as a blueprint.
7# We spoke a bit when we met about your navigation of the industry, are you satisfied with your path thus far, what’s left on your to ‘tick off’ list?
We are seeing barriers broken state side and I want to see more here in the UK for BAME actors and creatives. I want to write, it’s clear we have to make it if we haven’t seen it.
8# Will we be seeing you back on screen any time soon (Danny and the Human Zoo), and more so the big screen?
Watch out for Doctors and the new series of Silent Witness. I am a semi – regular in Doctors and my episodes air in October, it is a really interesting storyline. Silent Witness will be out in January.
9# What do you want / expect the audience to take away from The Seagull?
I want them to laugh hard and to see The Seagull as a classic Russian play that is relevant today.
10# When you’re not acting you’re…?
On a train to Birmingham to see my family. I run Blacktress UK, black women actor organisation, we focus on self care and sisterly support.
The Seagull runs at the Lyric, Hammersmith from now until 4th Nov 2017. To find out more and book tickets here.