The Cherry Orchard | Three Minutes with Rosy McEwen

7 Mar 2018

In between performances, we grabbed a few minutes with The Cherry Orchard's Rosy McEwen to find out more about her character and what the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate is most looking forward to in this exclusive quick-fire interview.

Rosy McEwen

Tell us a little about your character. How does she fit into this world on the brink of revolution in The Cherry Orchard?
I’m playing Varya, she is 24 years old and the eldest adopted daughter of Lyuba. She also runs the household, keeping everyone and everything in check. With a volatile nature she is a force to be reckoned with and, although full of love, she hasn’t got anyone to reciprocate it. She is a lonely creature surviving in a world that is not on her side, with the church as her only saviour. It is her religious belief that sets her aside from the social revolution that is happening around her, as her dream for the future would be to live in a convent as opposed to a communist secular society. She is, therefore, perhaps on the outskirts of theme of socialism that is a growing force throughout. 

As a BOVTS graduate and winner of the Peter O’Toole prize, how does it feel to make your professional debut on the Bristol Old Vic stage?
It is wonderful! I’m so happy to be back in not only my favourite city but also at such an established theatre. I did one of my graduation shows here too, so the place is filled with such happy memories. A first job can be nerve racking so I feel lucky to be able to do it in an environment I know so well. 

Rory Mullarkey has brilliantly injected the humour back into Chekhov’s work with this new translation. Without giving too much away, can you share any particularly funny moments? 
It has been witnessing the growth of each character that has created endless enjoyment. The rehearsal room is the space to get things wrong and it’s these outtakes that are the funniest. Some of my favourite moments have been from watching Julius who plays Pischik - his timing is perfection. 

What’s it been like in rehearsals over the last six weeks? Have there been many rehearsal room antics to tell of? 
There has been lots of laughter and lots of tears! This play is filled with high emotion, so as a group we’ve been pretty exposed which only leads to us being closer. 

If you could take on any other role in this production, who would you choose to be and why? 
I think I’d love to play Yasha because he’s just rude, blunt and utterly Russian. There’s a liberation in being able to do and say whatever you want without the worry of any repercussions. Plus he gets to kiss Dunyasha which I definitely wouldn’t say no to! 

What are you looking forward to most during the run? 
There’s so much in Chekhov’s writing, every time I go back to my script or we rehearse a scene, more and more layers are discovered, even at the late stages. With an audience, it adds a whole other layer and I can only imagine there will still be more to discover, learn and play with. 

What would you like the audience to take away from The Cherry Orchard following their performance? 
That change is inevitable, in ourselves and in the world around us. We need to be brave and embrace it because it’s been happening for centuries! That human nature is bizarre and refreshing - our emotions are unreliable and it’s important to remember how ‘normal’ that is!