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In Conversation with Kira Samu | GHOSTS

"I think we both share a very fiery passion in nature, are quick-witted with a sense of wicked humour and share a familiar drive of ambition for getting the most we can out of our own lives."

Today we chat with Kira Simu about preparing for and performing as Regina in the upcoming production of GHOSTS written by Jodi Gallagher after Henrik Ibsen and directed by Steven Mitchell Wright. Playing at Theatre Works from 30 May to 15 June.

Do you have a favourite line or scene from the play? What makes it stand out to you?

One of my favourite lines in the play actually comes from a character that is not my own and that is from Laura’s character Helene when in a sarcastic eye rolling moment she exclaims, “That’s all fixed, then” as the two other characters in the scene have come to some easy-fix solution on a problem far from being resolved by a single hand-shake between men. I love both for the dryness of their humour in a play that is often quite dark and intense; it brings a nice moment of light-heartedness to the density in the air that is GHOSTS

How do you think this adaptation of Ghosts differs from traditional interpretations of Ibsen's work?

Without giving too much away, I think both classical and contemporary viewers or fans of Ibsen's work will be quite blown away and surprised by this adapted version. In previously performed interpretations of Ghosts that have honoured Ibsen's work in a more traditional sense, ours will indeed take many twists and turns round corners that audiences won’t see or expect coming. The way that we’re manipulating the space and the realm of time that GHOSTS exists in, has been very interesting to play around with and is exciting for us to get to share with audience members.

How do you relate to your character? Are there aspects of their story or personality that resonate with you personally?

At first glance of the character of Regina, I had almost believed that it would be hard to draw many lines of relatability to herself and my own character. I remember in the first week of rehearsals that I said to Steven that I felt I was struggling to relate to her; only to be reminded that it was only the 12pm lunch break on day two - a ground-breaking and important realisation for me! But no, now that I’ve settled into the world of the play, and had ample time to mould my feet to the same shoe size of my character, I definitely feel that there are many similarities between myself and Reggie. I think we both share a very fiery passion in nature, are quick-witted with a sense of wicked humour and share a familiar drive of ambition for getting the most we can out of our own lives. We both are headstrong, stubborn and sometimes get caught up in romantic whims over practical pursuits. But alas, the head eventually wins over the heart. But we’ll try and keep that part a secret for now…

In what ways has this role challenged you compared to other roles you've undertaken? What has been the most challenging aspect of bringing this adaptation to life?

I think not just this role, but the whole show; the characters, the cast, and our director  have challenged me in ways that I can’t even begin to understand or really encompass within a short word count, so why bother. The best way to answer that, truly, is for you to come and see the show for yourself. We have worked tirelessly, enthusiastically, lovingly and with earnest dedication to bring these pages of dense, enriched and powerful text, (thanks to the lovely Jodi Gallagher and our dearly beloved friend, Ibsen) to life. What we want now is for you to come and witness the work and to discover for yourselves how it challenges YOU to think and feel in ways that perhaps you hadn’t yet been moved or provoked to before you’d stepped through those big, black doors to the seating bank of Theatre Works. And perhaps then you could get a glimpse of what it feels like to be moved in a room filled with drive, devotion and a dream for a magnificent performance that is our GHOSTS. 

What kind of research or preparation did you do to authentically portray your character?

Even when prepping for my audition with GHOSTS I began with reading a translated version of Ibsen's play. I spent a number of days in and out of public libraries with Ghosts and even spent ‘study periods’ at Deakins library doing background research on Ibsen’s other plays. I created a few of my own mood boards too and found myself writing a character analysis essay about Reggie’s ambition and desire for freedom in the play quite early on. I looked at other characters from other plays at the time that both myself and the director Steven, felt had some similarity or influence to and created an image board of those too.

Once in the show though, I actually did a lot of writing for my character. Journal entries to loved ones and otherwise that were comprised of my own imagination of the character and the world I believed that she could have grown up in. I wrote letters and third person perspective stories about how she came to be the way that she had been showing up for me in the show. And I think this really helped me build a connection to a sense of place in the world we were building in rehearsals, to the house and the other characters that I connect or disconnect from within the play. 

Looking back at your journey through this production, what moment or aspect will you carry forward into your future projects?

I try not to look back as much as I can in my usual life and it is a bit the same with this project too! I find myself rerunning potential scenes and scenarios in my head that I think, if I could redo them over and over again, then maybe I would do them this way or like that instead, etc, etc. And that can be an endless cycle or game that leaves me feeling quite sad and empty to play afterward, so hence, with this, I will carry forward some beautifully formed and wonderful connections. I believe that we’ve formed quite a familial bond between us all, and that is something that can’t be traded in or left behind for anything. Even as the show comes to a conclusion, I trust that the moments we created together as cast and crew will remain inside all of us, as our own, unique and magnificent Ghosts. 


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