This August 18th & 19th The Dolphin's Back acclaimed production of The Woman In The Moon by John Lyly returns to London, this time at the beautiful candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for a strictly limited run of 3 shows.
The show is an astrological sex comedy, which inspired Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. I'll be reprising the role of Pandora; earth's first woman according ancient Greek mythology, and the largest female part in early modern theatre. I've played her twice: once at The Glastonbury Festival with the Globe's Read Not Dead project, and again in the original production at The Rose Playhouse on Bankside, when I received these glowing reviews:
'As Pandora, Bella Heesom shows that the part requires tremendous versatility and stamina. She is barely ever off-stage. (Times Literary Supplement)
'Ninety minutes of theatrical bliss. As Pandora, Bella Heesom took us on a dazzling journey through conflicting expressions of womanhood - a bravura performance, which showed amazing adaptability and inventiveness.' (Migrant Press)
'The centrepiece performance is Heesom's chameleonic Pandora. She switches personalities like she's shuffling a deck of cards, one moment an intimidating kicker of asses, the next trapped in a hallucinatory wig-out, the next mumsy and caring. It's scarily good how strong Heesom's grip on this character is.' (LondonCityNights)
As I prepare to take on the role once again, director James Wallace interviewed me for the Globe's blog:
Pandora dominates the play and barely leaves the stage. Is she a challenge or a liberation to act?
Oh, a liberation, absolutely… and a challenge. Both! I’m quite happy dominating, to be honest. And I’m very happy barely leaving the stage. I really enjoy the experience of sharing the complete journey with the audience.
The thing I found most challenging when I first started rehearsing her, was her sudden shifts in mood - the way she switches from happy to sad, from lustful to bloodthirsty, and so on, as the different planets take control of her. The changes are so quick.
Usually as an actor I try and find the through-line, the motivation. But with Pandora, there is no reason that she’s aware of, she just suddenly feels full of violent rage. And the truth of the character is that she doesn’t have an existential crisis about these unexpected, unexplained feelings, and try and control them like I probably would, she just goes with them. Boom! Let’s fight. That’s incredibly liberating and fun to play.
AND ooh, look, a sexy trailer!