Greg Freeman returns once again to the Tabard with the world premiere of the comedy Dogstar, which delves into mankind’s obsession with ownership. Directed by Ken McClymont, this production will be their fourth collaboration at the theatre and is showing from 12th to 30 November 2013.
In a hot, dusty, western saloon, a mysterious stranger discovers everything in town has to be paid for.
Water, urinating… even dying.
And like almost every mysterious stranger, who happens to be
“just passing through”, he is inextricably drawn into a battle to save the town.
But it’s a town where bitterness is dormant.
It’s a town where greed is the only measure of value.
It’s a town where folk are crazier than popcorn on a hot stove.
Laura Pradelska, who has film, stage and television credits (including Game of Thrones), is starring as Violet in the play, and she recently took time out to answer a few questions about her career and Dogstar.
When did you first discover that you liked acting and decide that having a career as an actress was something you wanted to do?
I think from a very early age. I remember when I was about 6 years of age and playing a ‘frog’ in a school production in Frankfurt and being truly happy. I would say that apart from reading books, acting was the only thing as a child and teenager I was actually any good at. Getting cast in school plays made going to school a little easier and gave me confidence. From then on, it became my goal to work as an actress.
In 2001 you appeared as Anita in the televised Bavaria Fernseh-Produktion of Marienhof. Was this your first acting role? And how did it feel to be ‘on television’?
It was probably my first properly paid acting role. We shot just outside Munich and I loved every minute of it. It was wonderful when it finally aired as I used to watch the show as a teenager after school and now I was in it for a little bit.
You then lived in Los Angeles for several years. What prompted the decision to go there?
A school friend took me to LA when I was 15 and I fell in love with the city immediately, the weather, the lifestyle, and of course the dream of working in the industry. The second I finished school, I convinced my parents to allow me to and I suppose with a heavy heart they gave in.
In 2004 you performed as Colette in Four Dogs and a Bone for the Lee Strasberg Company at The Tamarind Theatre in Los Angeles. What did you enjoy most about being in this comedy and why the title “Four Dogs and a Bone”?
Four Dogs and a Bone is about two ferocious actresses (one being the ingenue and the other the aging actress), a sleazy producer and a naive screenwriter who all fight for control of a film. I love John Patrick Shanley’s plays and was thrilled when I got cast to play the ingenue in LA. Ironically I ended up playing the ‘aging’ actress in another production of ‘Four Dogs and a Bone’ at The Phoenix Artists Club in London in 2012. I think I was far better suited for the latter.
In 2005 you relocated to England and joined the Drama Centre in London, graduating in 2008. While there you took part in several productions, do you have a favourite?
Definitely Lulu by Wedekind. My year was very fortunate as we had the great Sebastian Harcombe as a course director and he directed me in this production. Everything I know about the craft, I really learned from Seb.
You have performed in several films. What do you enjoy most about the filming process?
I actually enjoy the whole process (even the waiting) from getting cast to costume fitting and to finally being on set and getting to work. I love the luxury of being able to do several takes as that obviously doesn’t exist in the theatre.
Which film has given you the most personal satisfaction?
I don’t think I could choose one to be fair. I did enjoy playing a ruthless NYC art dealer in Spite and Malice which is being released next year.
You are in the cast of Game of Thrones as Quaithe. What can you tell us about your character?
Quaithe is a mysterious woman hailing from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai in the Far East. She is a shadowbinder, is known to speak in riddles and to be rather enigmatic.
How does it feel to be a part of such an internationally successful TV series?
It is amazing. It has changed my career and has only done good things for me.
How does being a screen actress compare to be being a stage actress for you?
I like them both equally. Of course there is a difference with regards to exposure. I love the rush of being on set or on stage just the same.
Back to the stage: You played the part of Adriana in The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. How did it feel to be on stage in such an iconic venue?
It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget. It was part of my drama degree and I hope to return in a full production one day.
You have performed in many Off-West End productions. Do you have a favourite?
One of my favourite roles was definitely playing ‘Faith’ in ‘Still life at the Sushi Bar’ at The Leicester Square Theatre, it was a one-woman show written by a fabulous writer called Cyd Casados. It told the story of a stripper in the US and was great fun to play.
You won “Best Actor” at the 2010 Fringe Report Awards and also got nominated for “Best Female Performance” at the 2010 Off West End awards? What was so special about those performances?
I think both ‘Faith’ (Still life at the Sushi Bar) and ‘Eva Braun’ (Summit Conference) were extremely well written and strong female roles.
You are also a successful voice-over artist. What do you enjoy most about doing this?
I really enjoy the variety of characters I get to play. And I have been fortunate enough to work with fun and creative people.
You will soon be performing as Violet in the comedy DOGSTAR at the Tabard Theatre. What attracted you to be a part of the show?
It was a no brainer for me. I worked on several productions with the director Ken McClymont and I will never turn down the chance to work with him as he is one of the most gifted directors I have ever worked with. I also LOVE Greg Freeman’s writing, he writes the most outlandish comedies.
What can you tell us about your character and how she fits into the storyline?
The play is mainly about mankind’s obsession with ownership. In a hot, dusty, western saloon, a mysterious stranger named only as Dogstar discovers everything in town has to be paid for …even dying. And like almost every mysterious stranger, who happens to be “just passing through”, he is inextricably drawn into a battle with Clay, the unscrupulous landowner, in a bid to save the town. He is a homespun gunslinger in a greedy town and likes a game of poker without cards; passions and stakes just get higher and higher. I play the role of Violet (the town virgin), who has a whole agenda of her own
Why should everyone get along to the Tabard to see the show?
Because it is entertaining, thought provoking and so well written. It also features some of the most talented actors I have ever worked with; Ben Warwick (Dogstar), Rhys King (Clay) and Jaymes Sygrove (Jed).
Dogstar is only on for a relatively short run from 12th to 30th November. What are your plans once the show has closed?
Hopefully another great job.
You have played in many productions that are for fairly short runs. How difficult is it to learn lines, play the part and then move on in a short space of time. Do you have a set process for doing this?
I am not a master at learning lines and I don’t have a photographic memory unfortunately, but I always end up being ok for opening night. I usually lock myself into my bedroom for a few hours and work with the ‘Actions – The Actors’ Thesaurus’. And then I just learn the lines by understanding, repeating and mostly ‘actioning’ them.
Away from the stage what do you like to do to chill out?
I love reading, books are my favourite thing. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and going for drinks, or watching mindless reality TV.
Have you any message to those following your career?
I suppose, ‘everything will be ok in the end and if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.’
Interview questions by Neil Cheesman
You can follow Laura Pradelska on Twitter @LauraPradelska
Showing dates: 12th November – 30th November 2013
Times: Tuesday to Saturday 7:30pm Tickets £16/£14
‘Game of Thrones’ star Laura Pradelska is currently in rehearsals for Dogstar, which will premiere on the 12th November for 3 weeks at the Tabard Theatre’
Friday 8th November 2013