Amrita Acharia is currently starring as Kalki in Aditi Brennan Kapil’s new play The Chronicles of Kalki at the Gate Theatre. Alex Brown directs the production.
Best known for her role as Irri in the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones, Amrita’s theatre credits include: At The End Of Everything Else (Unicorn Theatre), Oikos Project (The Jellyfish Theatre) and Elevator (New Diorama Theatre).
Her other television credits include: Lapland and For the Mouths of Babies. Her film work includes Welcome to Curiosity, Kiss the Devil in the Dark Kills, Amar, Akbar and Tony, Camouflage, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, I am Yours, The Devil’s Double and forthcoming Arrivals.
Amrita speaks to West End Frame about her latest stage role, having the opportunity to work on something new and how working on stage compares to doing screen work…
What first attracted you to The Chronicles of Kalki?
I loved reading the play; it felt like an enigmatic piece, both heavily based in the reality we all know and in a surreal world where you can really let your imagination loose. The language and structure of the play really attracted me, as well as the way the piece is woven together and you could have a lot a fun interpreting it from a multitude of angles. It made me curious about what the process might be like and the story and vision behind the writing. The supernatural/God parts of it were obviously an exciting aspect to explore, but also at the heart of it is the story of two friends surviving school.
Is it exciting to have the opportunity to take on a new piece of writing?
It has been a very fluid and free process - for me the writing is so rich it really guides you right into the essence of the scenes and the characters. It’s been a colourful few weeks and it’s an ongoing process. This week has been quite intense as we transitioned from the rehearsal room into the space, and things have changed a lot within the short space of time. It’s exciting and a bit terrifying at the same time… in a good way!
Angela Terence, Amrita Acharia and Jordan Loughran
What can audiences expect? It sounds like they will be taken on quite a journey!
I think the audience will take away what they want from it. For me it’s about immersing them into the world we've created for 90 odd minutes. Take whatever you want from it, it’s there for you.
Kalki is a really interesting character, how have you approached the part?
It is a fun and juicy role and very different to what I normally get cast as. Kalki has been great fun to explore - it’s not every day you get to play a maybe-God. The recklessness and confidence was something I really enjoyed playing about with. The approach has really been through the text for me, the words do their job and it’s been about exploring different sides, aspects and flavours to her. As with any role, you can come at them from different angles. I don't want to ruin the storyline!
What are the cast and creatives like to work with?
For me it’s been great to do theatre, as I've mainly done screen work. It’s nice to work intensively with a passionate bunch of cast and creatives and be able to bounce off each other over the course of the rehearsal period and get down to nitty-gritty bits of detail. I've had a blast - what a brilliant way to start a new year!
What is the atmosphere like at the Gate?
I like the intimate space of the Gate and they always put on exciting work so it’s wonderful to be part of that. The last theatre piece I was part of was for the Unicorn Theatre which is a different kind of space and a younger audience, whilst this is a very different genre and style so I'm enjoying the contrast.
You’ve already mentioned your extensive work on screen. For you, how does working on screen compare to doing theatre?
I love screen and stage for different reasons. The process can be quite different obviously, and with screen you never really know until you see it all put together on screen, so that suspense is always fun. Nothing beats the adrenalin and immediacy of theatre, and there’s usually space for constant change and exploration throughout the run!
Interview by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
The Chronicles of Kalki runs at the Gate Theatre until Saturday 31st January 2015.
Please visit www.gatetheatre.co.uk for information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Helen Murray