Joining the cast of Casualty in March 2019, Genesis Lynea played the role of Archie Hudson before leaving last month with her character having a new job opportunity in Sudan. Genesis has upcoming screen roles in short films How Can I Forget and Love is a Hand Grenade, as well as playing Natacha in new Netflix fantasy series Shadow and Bone, based on the Leigh Bardugo novels. Among her many stage productions, Genesis was part of the Original London Casts of The Wild Party as Oscar D’Armano and SIX the Musical as Anna of Cleves, and most recently, she starred as the titled character in Sylvia at The Old Vic. We spoke to Genesis about her time as Archie Hudson in Casualty, being in the Original London Cast of SIX the Musical and playing Sylvia at The Old Vic.
What drew you to the role of Archie Hudson in Casualty and how would you describe her?
I’d never played a Doctor before! Archie sounded so raw and had her own mind and went about things the way she felt was right. She has such a wonderful moral compass that creates conflict in her because all she wants to do is to help people and make a difference which means breaking the rules sometimes. The role was presented to me with a real sense of fluidity and flexibility for me to play with which is always exciting.
Did you have a storyline you enjoyed filming the most?
I love the episodes concerning Connie and Ciaran and how we would “save Holby”. It felt like the stakes were so high like in a film noir detective world. Intense and sleek.
How did you feel going on set as Archie for the first time?
I was completely in ‘mission’ mode. I was trying to take in all the information that was presented to me with the technicalities of playing an ED Registrar but also just felling back into the world of screen. Everyone was so lovely and wanted to make me feel welcome which meant I was meeting like twenty/twenty-five people in an hour! That’s the beauty of Casualty, it is a tight-knit network of creatives but also it felt like they were family members after the year was up.
Is there anything you can tell us about filming as Natacha in Shadow and Bone, and what are you looking forward to for the release?
Natacha is fierce!! She is an Inferni and her small science is very… hot shall we say. I loved seeing Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse through her Natacha’s eyes. The cast is phenomenal. Periodt. The standard of the whole creative and productive team and watching how they worked was so exhilarating to be around! The biggest set I’ve been on to date.
What can you say about the short films How Can I Forget and Love is a Hand Grenade you filmed with JSB Films?
How Can I Forget was filmed outside last year during cold January and Love Is A Hand Grenade was filmed this year also during January! Why??? Ha.
No, the shorts were both so refreshing to work on. David O’Mahony, who plays opposite me, called me up and asked if I wanted to jump onboard. It was my first short film ever so I met with the director Natalia Andreadis and when she described the story to me, I fell in love. Some people would describe How Can I Forget as a condensed version of La La Land but with more of a superpower aspect. Two strangers meet on a double date and instantly know what each other will say and simply ‘see’ each other – a very beautiful concept. Natalia Andreadis was our director and such a pleasure to work with.
Obviously, being on a short is more of an intense process, but I love that: it switches up your tempo and you can just get stuck in and create something meaningful with a group of strangers in a sense. You have to learn to trust.
The link between the two films is the producer on How Can I Forget, Jessica Benhamou hit me up to play Gabby in Love Is A Hand Grenade and this time she would direct it. So, that was fun. Saffron Hocking plays my close friend in this one and over a night we discover the grey messy boundaries in our friendship and what happens when the waters are continually muddied. When they come out you should give both of them a watch!
You made your TV debut as Maddie Harper in 4 O’Clock Club on CBBC, what did you enjoy about this role?
I was a mother and a teacher. I love kids! And they were all so talented, so that was different to be in the company of young actors who had fun but also did the work with joy!
How did you find your time playing Anna of Cleves in the Original London Cast of SIX and recording the album?
SIX was such a beautiful experience because no one knew what it would lead to. All six of us just loved the script and the original music and thought ‘this will be a fun way to enter the new year’. Little did we know we’d have a tribe for life and an extended tribe of Six Royalty. I loved playing Cleves because for once I didn’t have to belt any high notes in a musical and I could relax into her intimidating confidence and bring my own essence to her. Who doesn’t like to have fun with the audience and sing about all their riches on stage?!
Can you tell us about playing Sylvia in The Old Vic’s production of Sylvia?
SYLVIA was a dream come true. I feel like I manifested that project into my path. I just felt everything Sylvia Pankhurst stood for, her journey and our adaption of it served me as a performer, a black, queer woman and as a British Bermudian. It was brand new Hip Hop UK theatre… that deserves a standing ovation in itself 😃.
What was it like telling such an important story?
I felt it in my bones, deep in my core. Literally. Kate Prince encouraged me to go back to my roots in terms of dance and I got to Krump in the opening sequence. I never thought that would have been ‘allowed’ on a traditionally professional stage like The Old Vic. Drew McOnie was the first creative to allow me to express myself in this way in productions like Kiss of the Spider Woman and Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park) but this was the first time I was playing a titular role and her voice was heard loud and clear. I still feel it is such an important story that needs to be told and retold. Here’s to the future!!
You were understudy Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre, what was this show like to perform in?
My first job out of three years training! It was exciting. My dressing room alone boggled my mind. They were huge! Lol. The stage was huge… the theatre was huge but most importantly the show had such huge heart. I made real life long friends on that job and that was just a bonus.
Whitney. Houston. I mean absolutely one of the best vocalists of all time and her songs are timeless so it was a real joy to hear that every night.
You were also in the Original London Cast of The Wild Party at The Other Palace, can you tell us about playing the role of Oscar D’Armano?
I loved playing Oscar alongside my kindred spirit Gloria Obianyo. One of my favourite roles to play to date. I want to be involved with more of these dark, raw stories that are labelled as “taboo” but actually are just real life. Drew flipped the characters who were usually played by two men, so Theo Jamieson worked closely with us to get it sitting in our voices in such a rich way. Oooh I get tingles thinking about the music. I love anything to do with Jazz and that era.
Gloria and I were playing lovers whose relationship was so deeply co-dependant and toxic and somewhat confusing; the audience weren’t even sure what we identified with – which I loved. Sometimes we are so bogged down on identities and obsess over the ‘what’ instead of the ‘whom’. We are all just beings who want to be loved.
Yeah, I always want to feel that visceral connection to people and their stories and also to the audience. There were such a strong vibrational energy starting from the rehearsal process through to the last show. Again, I was blessed with such an abundance of talent to work with on that job, some new faces and some very familiar ones; each person giving themselves up so beautifully to a piece.
Was there anything that drew you to an acting career?
I resisted for years. I went to King’s College London to study Geography! But the universe guides you in ways you cannot resist or deny. It just felt right.
What advice would you give someone thinking of applying for Arts Educational Schools?
Be yourself. Show your vulnerability and your strength. It’s all about balance, adaptability and willingness to learn!
Genesis Lynea is represented by David Lazenby at Vivienne Clore http://www.vivienneclore.com
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