The Cherry Orchard | Three minutes with Verity Blyth

7 Mar 2018

In between performances, we grabbed a few minutes with The Cherry Orchard's Verity Blyth 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.

Verity Blyth

Tell us a little about your character. How does she fit into this world on the brink of revolution in The Cherry Orchard?
Anya is the daughter of Ranevskaya. She is seventeen and the youngest character in the play. With her youth brings hope, something that perhaps other characters struggle to grasp and wish they had. She begins to understand her privilege throughout the play and alongside Trofimov, has her sights set on ‘a new miraculous world.’ It’s been really challenging and rewarding to play around with her inner conflict; leaving the only world she knows behind and beginning a new life.

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 feels really special having trained in this city. I love Bristol and this theatre has always been somewhere I have wanted to work. Coming back to Bristol has brought back so many happy memories and I think it’s such a great opportunity for the students at the school.

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?
There are lots of humorous moments! Rory is a very talented playwright and has translated this play very cleverly. The translation is so relatable that the actors have had an easy time finding funny bits. Kirsty is great at that, her argument with Trofimov in Act 3 is comical and tragic.

What’s it been like in rehearsals over the last six weeks? Have there been many rehearsal room antics to tell of?
It’s been hard work, and just when you think you’ve had a breakthrough another challenge arises. But that’s what has been so great about it. I’ve loved every moment, and have loved taking on such a challenging play. I’ve learnt so much from this whole process. Everyone has been so great to work with. Even the little boys playing Grisha! One of them had us up playing volleyball over the chaise longue one afternoon, Michael found it hard to calm us all back down!

If you could take on any other role in this production, who would you choose to be and why?
I think it would be Yepikhodov. He is a tragically funny character and I really enjoy playing comic roles.

What are you looking forward to during the run?
Showing the audience how truly remarkable this play is. This is why we do it, to tell a story. And this is such a great one.

What would you like the audience to take away from The Cherry Orchard following their performance?
Just not to be scared when things change. That hope is an option. They’ll see people fall apart and piece themselves back together, sometimes with grace and at other times it’s ugly. But it’s human. And I think that’s relatable.