Emma Rice brings her unique, exuberantly impish vision to Angela Carter’s great last novel, Wise Children, launching her new theatre company of the same name and its London residency at The Old Vic.

We caught up with cast member Patrycja Kujawska to find out more.

Wise Children, will have its world premiere at The Old Vic on 17th October, with previews from 8th October, ahead of its UK tour.

Wise Children is at The Old Vic ahead of a national tour, what can you tell us about it?

It is an exciting adaptation of Angela Carter’s book “Wise Children” directed by Emma Rice. At the heart of the story are two twin sisters Nora and Dora who used to be song and dance girls. We meet them on their seventy fifth birthday. They tell us the story of their lives, full of joy and pain. As Emma says –  this show is a love letter to the world of the theatre.

How would you describe your characters?

Lady Atalanta is a glamorous and beguiled wife of Sir Melchior Hazard, thespian celebrity of his time – she’s a bit mysterious, kind and good hearted. Unfortunately, she gets wronged, terribly hurt, but …well – you must come and see! I also play Blue Eyed Boy, the true love of Nora. He is “innocent as asparagus”, tender and sensual. Worth noticing that our show is gender blind, men play women, and vice versa. I will be sporting a funky moustache. Those two characters couldn’t be more different from one another and there will be some extremely quick costume changes, so I expect dramatic scenes happening backstage!

What is it about Emma Rice’s adaptation that excites you the most?

It’s the characters incredible ability to overcome all the horrible things that happen to them, all the cruelty, injustice and rejection. It’s the fact that dark events from their lives don’t define them. They love life and they embrace it with all its complexity.

And what do you think is the biggest thing you’ve learned working with Emma Rice?

To work instinctively. To forget about self-judgement. To make bold choices. Emma trusts her performers and believes in group imagination.

What are you looking forward to most about taking Wise Children out on tour?

It really doesn’t matter to which city we will go, Wise Children is a show about human nature – the bright and dark side of it, and the grey areas in between, about being on the “wrong sides of the tracks”. Everyone can relate to it on some level. We have worked on this show so hard and simply cannot wait to share it with the audience!

How have you and the rest of the cast been getting to know each other?

I have worked with some of the company before, so it’s a delight to be reunited with some of the old friends, as well as to meet some of the new ones – it’s a big company! Fifteen of us on the stage, a glorious motley crew of people from different theatrical backgrounds. We warm up together, we play games, we get physical. There isn’t much of sitting round the table over the script, we are up on our feet, we dare to take risks and let ourselves fail occasionally. There is a great sense of support, respect and naughty comradery between us, yet a great intimacy.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Wise Children?

We will take you on a journey full of surprises. We will make you laugh and possibly cry. You will leave the theatre humming one of our wonderful tunes (we have life band on stage)! You will go back home wanting to put your red shoes and dance.

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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