Finding Mrs Farley

Over a series of posts we’ll be asking each of the actors in Playhouse Creatures to tell us a little about their characters.

First up is Gemma Sharp AKA Mrs Elizabeth Farley:

Gemma Sharp - Mrs FarleyOn paper, Mrs Farley is the token bitch of the piece.

She comes off as scheming, evil and vindictive. But to play her as a machiavellian cypher would be far too obvious.

Mrs Farley has arguably the most dramatic character arc in the play and, not to give too much away, if we want the audience to sympathise with her and see the tragedy in her eventual downfall, she can’t be played as a sneering pantomime villainess. 

The challenge I have is to make Mrs Farley a human, with all the complexities that entails rather than  just a caricature. I have to find valid reasons for why she does the things she does, I have to find something I empathise with or like about her.

To me Mrs Farley is the most ‘animalistic’ of all the ‘Creatures’. She acts on her instincts. Her actions are driven by her naivety. Although she is educated, her pious upbringing hasn’t prepared her for surviving in the real world. So to cope with any worry or problem she may face she immediately becomes defensive and lashes out like a frightened animal.

I want to draw out her fragility, insecurity and vulnerability, and hopefully show the audience a fully rounded complex character rather than a cackling, conniving, Wicked Witch.

Gemma Sharp

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