Act 1 director, Nataliya Kharina, introduces Lemon Heaven, the original play that brings our Troubled Waters season to a thrilling close this weekend.
Lemon Heaven, the third and final premiere in our Troubled Waters season, opens this Friday 5 April, at New Wimbledon Theatre’s Time & Leisure Studio.
“[Lemon Heaven] is truly a rollercoaster of a piece,” says Nataliya Kharina, who devised the original piece with the company. “From big, over the top characters to heartfelt stories of fleeing for your life, this show has it all. To top it off, it is spectacular visually.”
Final rehearsals took place at the weekend and Nataliya says excitement is running high, particularly now the cast can see how their production ties together. “It’s been so interesting watching their journey,” Nataliya says. “At the start, it was a little bit of a struggle getting into the world of the Lemon…but watching them this weekend has been so exciting. Suddenly, they are putting real feeling into everything; it’s extraordinary.”
Nataliya describes Lemon Heaven, which looks at contemporary issues in a strange but eerily familiar setting, as a learning journey that hasn’t just affected the actors. “It has taken a while for the conversations we have had to land – even with me,” she says. “A few weeks ago we realised that the ‘Lemon’ concept is like Apple: it had been staring us in the face the whole time but we just didn’t make the connection.
“The length of time it took for all of us to realise what we had actually been talking about all along is the reason it is necessary. The more we speak and deliberate about the state of the world, the more likely we are to know how to make it better. It’s vital to get these conversations started.”
Although the play was co-devised, Nataliya insists that all she did was “tie the loose ends together”.
As well as devising and performing, one cast member, Olivia, has also been taking photos and recording video (as included in this post) as part of her character development.
Paying tribute to her young cast, Nataliya says: “We decided on a lemon factory, then I said, what characters are there? They all decided their own characters and each individual quirk – a disgruntled employee, a fed up manager, etc. It’s a really good opportunity to hear their perspective and give them ownership over this work.
“It is also an amazing opportunity for the audience to see how articulate, intelligent and intuitive these young people are.”
Nataliya describes Lemon Heaven as a “fun” play. “There are big physical theatre moments,” she says. “There are floods and shipwrecks. We have a few characters that have really come into their stride and are starting to play with their personas: keep a eye out for our Quality Assurance Officer.”
Nataliya admits that, with opening night so close, nerves are a factor too: “They are a young cast. I’ve assured them that nerves means they care – and they certainly do!”
With a truly unique show on the agenda, Act 1 is ready to wow – but Nataliya isn’t giving too much more away. “The audience should expect…lemons,” she says. “We can’t wait to bring you into our absurd world.”
Book tickets today!
Just a small number of tickets are still available for Lemon Heaven on Friday 5 April (evening performance only) and Saturday 6 April (matinee and evening performances).
All profits from ticket sales go straight back into the Young Actors Company to help fund our rehearsals, community projects and performances.
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