Breaking Buzz: Ruth Wilson muds in “huge act of stamina” to perform 24 hours on stage in London with 100 men, glorious mud for ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

Ruth Wilson, star The Affair, Luther And His Dark MaterialsPlayed with many leading actors, usually one at a time, but her patience will be tested in May when she embarks on a marathon stage show in London playing the same scene with a hundred different men for nearly 24 hours — one after the other.

“Yes, a hundred is enough,” he laughs.

“It’s a huge act of endurance,” she tells me second woman, A title inspired by a play at the center of John Cassavetes’ 1977 film Rajni Starring Jenna Rowlands. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through it and that’s part of the appeal to me,” she adds.

Her face looks devastated for a split second as she tells me “I’ll lose any sense of performance as the show goes on,” she sighs, though it’s clear she relishes the prospect.

The show runs 24 hours, 4PM to 4PM, at the Young Vic Theatre, 19-20 May.

It’s a huge undertaking for Wilson but not one he can fully prepare for as his team of co-stars will be strangers to him. “I don’t have any rehearsals with the men, I don’t meet them beforehand,” she explains.

They are given a scene to learn and Wilson learns the same scene. “Then they’d come and it was the first time I’d ever met them.”

I asked if they would wash. He nods in the affirmative. The Young Vic will have a process for security checks “to make sure they’re in it for the best purpose.”

Part of the thrill of doing this is not knowing how they’re going to interact and how they’re going to cope. “It’s exciting to me. As such, I don’t know how each of these men will react.

“I always thought that I would try, initially, to act or to create a character or to entertain the audience or to look after these men,” but all that would disappear, he says, “as my exhaustion, and passion and energy, And everything becomes good to me. Those things will perish.”

His face brightened, “So I guess I’m pretty impressed.” He is “interested in the decay of performance art… and I think most actors live for the moment that feels spontaneous.”

There would be moments of frustration on stage and he would wonder if he would be bored with his co-stars as the hours ticked by. “You, as an audience, will be able to identify those differences in me, but at the same time if it’s great chemistry, you’ll suddenly see us really connecting, and having a great time,” he laughs. “It will be a study of interaction, human interaction and intimacy as much as anything else,” she says.

That scene will play on repeat, sort of Groundhog Day, a break-up scene between a man and a woman. It will be a study of power dynamics between the sexes. “The power seems to be with the people but when you express it you realize that the space and environment is my domain, so that already creates a conflict and that transfer of power will happen throughout the scene,” she tells me. A lively Zoom video call.

Cassavetes’ film is about Myrtle Gordon, a brilliant actress “who’s playing Virginia, a character in a play within a play, and the character that’s written for her is a woman in her forties who’s sort of over the hill, so I think about that, A woman’s degenerate agency and actress Jenna Rowlands struggle with the idea of ​​playing that role.”

The show focuses on just one scene with Virginia. Wilson hopes to explore the idea of ​​”you becoming the character and vice versa.”

I asked what kind of break would be in place. “Every two hours I get a 15-minute break,” she replies. “It will be about 15 minutes. What should I do at that time? Do I meditate? Can I go outside and get some fresh air? what do i eat Shall I go to the toilet? ” she marveled.

second woman It is a co-production between the Young Vic and Lift, a biennial independent London theater festival, and was created by Nat Randall and Anna Brecon. It is co-produced with Wilson’s Lady Lazarus production company.

The show’s world premiere was in pre-pandemic Australia. In fact, Wilson was supposed to play the role three years ago but it didn’t go ahead because with Covid “you can’t touch a hundred men.”

Wilson enjoyed returning to the stage and won two Olivier Awards for the role Anna Christie And A streetcar named Desire.

The actress is currently filming the BBC One and Paramount global thriller West of Ireland. Woman in the Wall, about the horrors of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. He stars alongside Daryl McCormack who is enjoying a good run Best wishes to you, Leo Grande, And bad sister; He is also nominated for this year’s BAFTA EE Rising Star Award. The six-parter was created by Joe Murtagh (American animals) and directed by Harry Woodliff, who directed Wilson in the feature truth be told, and composition Suri (The bastard son and Satan himself)

McCormack plays a copper, and Wilson says her story is “one of the women who live in the village, and there’s a murder that basically unravels the whole past.”

He described it as a “wild, weird, unusual piece with a great cast—and we’re almost done.” As we know, there’s a lot of demand for content “and it’s exhausting,” she says

However, he committed himself to undertaking separate projects for stage and screen, which would place him in challenging environments and landscapes. “Next year is going to pick up things that, ultimately, may not be really popular, but they’re going to be things that are much more interesting and challenging for me.”

Wilson also offered me a challenge: I should audition to play one of the hundred blokes in attendance with him. second woman. “Really, you should,” she urges.

I can enter stage left as block number 62, I joke. This guy’s name is Marty.

Mud, glorious mud!

Heik Merker, nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar for his hair and makeup designs All is quiet on the Western FrontShe has a bemused look on her face as she struggles with the fact that I want to discuss mud art.

“I’ve dragged through it a lot,” I say by way of explanation. “By my Kishond and Shiba Inu dogs,” I added quickly.

Netflix invited me to an early theater screening last summer of director Edward Berger’s re-examination of Erich Maria Remarque’s story about German conscripts thrown into the bloody hell of war in WWI.

It was in one of those small, basement rooms in Soho beamed on a gorgeous big screen so that every muddy, wounded face was clearly visible.

Then recently, a senior executive at Netflix joked that if there was a variety of mud made by Marker to apply to the faces of soldiers fighting in the trenches, they should proclaim “I love mud” on their t-shirts.

The kind of dirt my dogs don’t find in the hills on the coast of Hackney Marshes and Hastings in East Sussex has long been a factor in my life.

Yes, Marker agrees. “I have a dog too and I know exactly what you’re talking about.” Her canine is a cockapoo.

The difference though is that for film “you can’t use real mud. It needs to be makeup mud so you can put it on the skin”, pointing to the dangers of using the real thing when you have no idea what might be lurking in it. I think of rats and bugs and, well, you know.

“You’ve got mud, you’ve got blood, you’ve got different textures on the battlefield,” Marker explains as we discuss the many races involved.

“I was on a mission to do all kinds of mud,” notes Marker as he cataloged the rainbow of mud. “Light tans, beiges, yellowish, and then it’s a greenish and then a light gray, medium gray, dark gray, and then a dark brown. Definitely a black.”

Will it require thicker or thinner shields to plaster over the faces of tired soldiers? “Sometimes it can be a thin version, if you can imagine when you are going to make a noise in the dog,” adds Merker.

There was a touch of the real thing with particles of gray clay from the Dead Sea. “It’s like a powder. It is clean and we mix it with other ingredients.”

Then there are packages with macadamia powder, mocha powder… “We started testing and the whole thing was like a painting. We had palettes.”

Kryolan, the professional makeup company, supplied the pigments and other necessary substances, and they mixed vats of squelching gunk.

“I think the makeup helped our actors realize what a nightmare the fight was,” she says

Her favorite on set was Felix Kamerar who plays Paul, the young man we follow. “I had to make him look tired, all kinds of expressions, all kinds of mud hurt. His whole face was covered in elephant-skin mud,” says Marker.

Extra care had to be taken as the battlefield scenes were shot earlier. “We’re not at the beginning of the movie where they’re at school and they have to look fresh until later, so you have to take care of their skin.”

He and his team made sure there were hot showers and hot towels for the cast after a long day in the trenches.

Surely, designing hair and makeup for earlier films was easier, Crazy Rich Asian? “We shot in Singapore and Malaysia. The humidity there, wow,” she exclaims.

Mud is good.

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