Olivier Award-nominated actress Summer Strallen is known for leading West End stage roles in musicals, but tackles a different kind of role in Intra Muros.
Alexis Michalik’s latest play opened in Paris in 2017 and is still running at La Pépinière Théâtre. Full of Michalik’s trademark sharp wit and extraordinary method of storytelling, this metatheatrical production will be directed by Ché Walker.
You’re appearing in Intra Muros at Park Theatre, what can you tell us about it?
Intra Muros is a reflection on what life is like in prison for both the people incarcerated and the people on the outside. We are trying to help people understand how acting is a part of every human being’s life in some shape or form.
It’s a move away from your usual musical roles, what inspired you to take on the role?
I have always wanted to do more plays. Musical Theatre is a very different skill just as television and film are too and life is all about learning.
What was it about Intra Muros that made you want to be involved with it?
I wanted to be involved because upon reading the script I felt a huge amount of compassion for all the characters and I always think if we can spread more love around through the medium of acting then I’m all in!
How would you describe your character in Intra Muros?
Alice is a relatively new to the job social worker who organises a theatre workshop for prisoners. She’s young and enthusiastic but has had a strange upbringing whereupon she feels there are secrets about her that she has not been privy too.
It’s a meta theatrical play, what opportunities or challenges does that present?
We have a minimal set and many flashbacks so the challenge was to help the audience picture what time and place we were flashing back to. That has been helped with the wonderful lighting design of David Howe.
What do you enjoy most about Alexis Michalik’s writing?
I enjoy the haphazard nature of bringing comedy and tragedy so close together. Characters are supposed to be happy but they are also meant to suffer so a message can be conveyed.
You’ve recently been choreographer on Romance Romance at Above The Stag, how did you enjoy working behind the scenes?
I don’t feel any creative should be labelled or put into a box. My creativity as with most artists extends as far as I am willing to push it! Helping to direct and stage a show gave me a different sense of pride when it all came together. The feeling is indescribable.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Intra Muros?
This play is not only funny and tragic it is also thought provoking and in a world of control the only freedom we have is in our thoughts. If you choose to think make sure they are meaningful! Many thanks and Namaste.