Next week, Masque Theatre present John Webster’s classic tragedy “The Duchess of Malfi” in the stunning Holy Sepulchre on Sheep Street. We’ve been chatting with the cast to find out more…
This time, we spoke to Megan Lucas (Delio) and Becki Cockcroft (Julia) (Read Part 1 here)
How have rehearsals been going so far?
Becki: They’ve been amazing fun, if a little cold! They don’t call the rehearsal space “Freezer” Burns St for nothing! This is my first Masque production as an actor, so it was pretty daunting to start with, but everyone is so friendly and supportive it’s impossible to not feel at ease. It’s a stunning cast too – I was genuinely a little starstruck at some of the names! I’ve seen so many of these guys performing before, and have been in awe of their performances, so to get to act with them is a real honour.
Megan: Well, I lost my voice recently, which made for an interesting rehearsal, but largely they’ve been an awful lot of fun. I love the rehearsal process; and seeing how everyone explore their characters and how they build and build as we approach show week. It’s unrecognisable from the initial rehearsals, and we all feel we’ve put together something special.
Tell us a little bit about your characters
Becki: I play Julia, who is effectively a flirtatious but essential plot point! She’s listed as “Castruccio’s wife and the Cardinal’s mistress”, and other characters call her a “wanton” and a “strumpet”, so I basically get to pour myself over various male characters and hopefully get a few laughs along the way. I think she’s a bit misunderstood; by modern standards she’s a confident woman who’s not afraid to use her sexuality as a means to obtain power, but by the standards of 16th century Italy, things are a bit different. She’s everything the brothers assume The Duchess to be, but because she’s not in the same position of power they don’t care about her reputation – in fact, the Cardinal is very much complicit in making sure her reputation is nothing to be proud of!
Megan: In modern terms you would say Delio is a bit of a ‘player’. He’s wealthy, charismatic and is always on the look out for some female *ahem*company. All is not necessarily as it seems however, he’s fiercely loyal to his best friend Antonio, so his motivations may well have more to do with that. Not that he minds a little fun in the process of course. He doesn’t think Antonio makes the best decisions during the course of the story, but is there for him regardless as a true friend, who just about manages to maintain the big secret.
What inspired you to audition for the role?
Becki: Several things – firstly that I would have given my right arm to play in the Holy Sep, I saw The Rover there a while back, and adore the place. Secondly, because John is directing – I was his assistant director for Duston Players’ last panto, and have worked with him on two other shows so I knew this play would be in excellent hands. And thirdly, because I utterly fell in love with Julia as a character – she’s so much more than the two-dimensional fallen women she’s often assumed to be, and I knew I could have some fun with her.
Megan: Well, having directed John Myhill in his most recent acting role, it seemed completely apt to give him the opportunity for some revenge. In all seriousness though, it’s a brilliant play, performed in a beautiful venue, and I knew that if successful I would be spending the next few months having fun with my friends. It was impossible to resist.
Do you have a favourite line?
Becki: I have a few, but oddly I think it’s one little throwaway line I like the most – “Sir, will you come in to supper?” because that’s Julia being real. Often she’s flirting her way out of, or into, a situation, but this line feels really domestic and truthful.
Megan: It has to be my final one. I can’t say what it is for fear of spoilers, but it comes at a critical point in the play. Of all my lines, this is the one I feel the most pressure and responsibility to get right, and that’s exciting. I’ve had some fantastic responses to it during rehearsal, so cannot wait to perform it in in front of an audience.
Why do you think people should come to see the show?
Becki: Because it’s a cracker! John has put together an amazing cast, the costumes are glorious, and it’s in a stunning 12th century church! And all for only £9 a pop… what more could you want?!
Megan: Why wouldn’t people want to come and see The Adventures of Delio… …I mean The Duchess of Malfi? Sophisticated, intelligent, funny, emotional, great to look at, and all the other characters in it are pretty good too.
The Duchess of Malfi takes place in The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Sheep Street NN1 3NL from Tuesday 2 to Saturday 6 April 2019 – performances start at 7.30pm. Tickets are £9 and are available online (subject to a small booking fee) at www.masquetheatre.co.uk/tickets by calling 07783 531542 or in person at St Giles Music, 16 St Giles Terrace, NN1 2BN
Photos by Becki Cockcroft and Megan Lucas