Lara Pulver on Blossoming into a Burlesque Queen in London’s Gypsy

first_img View Comments Lara Pulver was nominated for a 2008 Olivier Award for her performance opposite Bertie Carvel in director Rob Ashford’s London production of Parade and is back in town to play Louise—better known as Gypsy Rose Lee—opposite Imelda Staunton in Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre. The gifted performer chatted with about honoring a classic musical and being an, um, ecdysiast.Gypsy hadn’t been seen in the West End for over 40 years until now; how well did you know the musical beforehand?I knew some of it, and I’d seen the movie when I was a kid. But you’re right: it’s not in our theatrical DNA in the same way it is for [Broadway audiences], so it’s been wonderful to explore and tell this story because it’s such a good play regardless of the wonderful music.What about it appeals to you?I think the fact that it’s so well-crafted and that those out-of-town tryouts early on really worked. There’s not a moment where I think, “How am I going to be able to make that bit of it fly?” It really is thrilling, especially for Imelda and myself, that we get such extraordinary journeys to play.The dynamic between Rose and her daughter, Louise, must be very rich to play.What’s fascinating to me is the role reversal of this little shrunken mouse that Louise is in Act One—this girl who’s desperate to be noticed or appreciated. Imelda doesn’t even physically look at me until “Everything’s Coming up Roses”—I don’t have a connection with her until I’ve been enticed into following her desires. And then at the end, I’m the one who’s going, “It’s OK, Rose.” You see the mother age and the daughter bloom.The shared focus of the piece is implicit in the title—i.e. Rose may be the main character but the show is still called Gypsy.Yes, and I think what people react to is how this woman treats her daughters and how these daughters respond—to understand the desperate actions that are taken on both sides and why, and that’s what has been so thrilling. It’s about time and age and feeling relevant and ego and the daughter becoming the parent and all those wonderful things that we can all relate to because we all have parents.How does Imelda deliver that cataclysmic performance eight times a week?I think she’s living like a nun—who wouldn’t when you’ve been given that type of role to do? You would want to take it with both hands. She’s always eaten well and taken care of herself, which is part of having longevity as an actor, and she’s spent months with a singing coach learning to use her voice properly and having an osteopath to give her that freedom to produce the sound. I try as well to take care of her and bring her little bits of lunch and stuff on a two-show day.Given that you and Imelda share the final scene, what happens right when you both come off stage?There’s often a moment where I just need to hold her and she needs to be held and other times we will fall into laughter about something ridiculous. Our job is to deliver the show at whatever the cost.Tell us about your defining striptease number in which Louise morphs from reticent wallflower into the “ecdysiast” of legend.What’s thrilling for me is that it’s the first time Louise is noticed in the entire play and the trigger where she goes from girl to woman is the second a member of the audience in the first strip notices her. And all of a sudden, she realizes that there’s power in femininity—in sensuality and sexuality—and it’s a whole new world for this young woman.Were you tempted to check out any of the various Broadway incarnations of Gypsy online?I’ve got such a photographic memory that if I listened to something or looked at something, I would find it hard to shake off. My research came instead from memoirs and pictures from the vaudeville era—not because I don’t think I could learn something from these other ladies, but because I would find it hard to put what I’d seen to one side after I had seen it.Have you had a “Sondheim moment,” as actors often seem to when doing his work?There have been a few that are so personal and private that I don’t want to share them, but there was one I witnessed where he went up to the orchestra pit at the end of our first preview and said, “Well fellas, you sound American”—which I think is the biggest compliment that he could have given!last_img read more

‘Sperm in pool’ child protection commissioner accepts sacking, grudgingly

first_imgShe nevertheless said that she accepted the decision and vowed to continue to fight for child protection in any way possible.Jokowi signed a decree on the immediate dismissal of Sitti from her post as the KPAI’s commissioner for health, narcotics and addictive substances following a recommendation from the agency’s ethics council. The council had stated that Sitti had violated the commission’s code of ethics by making the inaccurate statement.Sitti made the controversial remarks that ultimately resulted in her dismissal during an interview with in February, saying that women should be careful about the risk of getting pregnant when swimming in public pools with men.”There is an especially strong type of sperm that may cause pregnancy in a swimming pool,” Sitti said. “Even without penetration, men may become sexually exited [by women in the pool] and ejaculate, therefore causing a pregnancy.”Her blunder was immediately met with a strong response from the public and medical practitioners.The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) said it was impossible for women to get pregnant in a swimming pool as the water contained chlorine and other chemicals. “Sperm cannot survive in these conditions,” IDI executive Nazar said at the time.Sitti who initially defended her claim by saying it was based on scientific journals later retracted the statement and apologized. The KPAI itself issued a response saying that Sitti’s statement did not represent the views of the organization.Topics : Former Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) commissioner Sitti Hikmawatty – who was fired by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo after making the scientifically inaccurate claim that “strong sperm” could impregnate women in swimming pools – said she accepted her dismissal, while also claiming she had been treated unfairly.During a teleconference on Tuesday, Sitti said the agency’s decision to recommend her dismissal was made in violation of procedure, saying that she should have been given an administrative sanction and a letter of reprimand instead of being fired.”What I got instead was the ultimate punishment without having a chance to defend myself. This should not happen again,” Sitti said, urging the President and relevant ministries to fix the “legal loophole” in the commission’s regulations.last_img read more