This month, Éva Magyar is set to play the Tour Guide in the UK/world premiere of Pamela Carter’s The Misfortune of the English at the Orange Tree Theatre. The show will open on 25th April and is booking until 28th May and Éva will be starring alongside Hubert Burton, Vinnie Heaven and Matthew Tennyson. Éva has other stage credits including performing at the National Theatre, with her screen experience seeing her work on a number of films abroad, and she is currently writing a short film and future film, along with being an acting coach. We caught up with Éva about being part of the UK/world premiere of Pamela Carter’s The Misfortune of the English, playing the Tour Guide at the Orange Tree Theatre and her upcoming work.
It’s been announced you’re in the cast of the UK/world premiere of Pamela Carter’s The Misfortune of the English, can you tell us about the production?
I really don’t know how much I can tell about the story without ruining it for the audience because it’s not simple storytelling. It really uses the audience present in the theatre, who see everything and hear everything. I think it really makes the audience think about the present time we live in, and the past, and how much we have learnt, and how we see history from different views. It’s very interesting for me being Hungarian to be in a production like that.
What are you looking forward to most for playing the Tour Guide for the run at the Orange Tree Theatre?
I really want to find something the audience can connect with. Many in the audience will know people from Eastern Europe or have family relations there, so I want to find a voice for the Tour Guide that resonates with them.
What was it like reading the script and meeting the rest of the cast for the first time?
It was very interesting to read the script. When I had my audition, my first question was “What do you want to do with this script?”. It’s so poetical, that you can take it in so many directions. The cast are all very, very interesting actors, and all of them very different. It has been an extremely exciting journey to be in the rehearsal room with them.
How have rehearsals been going and what is the character like to play?
Rehearsals have been going really well. It’s different for me because we are not together all the time, but as it is now the last week of rehearsals, we are seeing each other’s work. We have had to fit together what I do with their work. It has been very interesting; over the last few days it has suddenly started to get a fire in it. It has started to get really exciting, having seen how the characters have grown and developed.
What is it like being part of a UK/world premiere of an original piece of theatre?
Of course, every show is exciting, but there is an extra excitement with this, as this is the first time an audience will see this show. It’s not just the writing now, it is what the actors, the designers and the theatre have brought to it. There is double the excitement to see how the audience will see what we have created.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see the show at the Orange Tree Theatre in London?
It’s a very unique play, in that there is a unique combination of actors, and how we have created this show. I have seen so many plays, but I’ve never seen anything like this. What I want from theatre is for it to show me something I’ve never seen before, and that is what people can expect when they come to see this.
Can you say about some of the other projects you’ve been involved with over your theatre and screen career so far, which has included shows at the National Theatre, The Cherry Orchard, Father Brown and Baptiste?
I really loved my first appearance at the National Theatre in 2005, which was Tristan and Yseult where I played Yseult. And again at the National, I really loved Hedda Gabler in 2016, directed by Ivo van Hove, and the leads were played by Ruth Wilson and Rafe Spall.
I also love filming and recently I did loads of films abroad in Finland and Holland. I’ve worked on films in Ireland and America. My strength is that I speak many languages, and also I have a movement background, so the roles I am cast in are always different. That has given me great opportunities to do very different things: one day a comedy and another day a drama. That’s another reason why I love to live in London, because it’s such a central point of the world with so many things happening.
Is there anything you can tell us about your upcoming work?
I’m writing right now, I’m working on a short film, and I’m working on a future film. I think, for me, it’s time to leave behind something from my own experience. Before I came to England, I had my own dance theatre company. I always put my life experience through art and to an audience, so I want to do the same now. I’m planning on making a theatre show again, too. So there’s loads of work, I’m never bored.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
My father was a theatre director and actor and our house in Budapest was always filled with artists, musicians, actors and dancers. That was my parents’ life, so at the time I didn’t want that. But when I was 18, I met young actors and young artists. I was just taken away by the joy to be playful, but also storytelling. I think I’m a real storyteller. I believe in the power of storytelling to educate people. I think it’s wonderful that through theatre you can speak to people you’ve never met before, you don’t have to meet, but you can change people’s lives. It’s just the most wonderful way of life for me.
What do you enjoy most about being an actor, director, choreographer, and acting coach?
I love to be part of people’s lives with storytelling and education. I do teach actors and that’s a very important part of my life because I can really help them to recognise which way to go and what to do. Many people start as an actor and then they became writers or directors, so I find teaching a wonderful thing.
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