A Tale of Two Cities: Interview with actor Sue Wallace

A Tale of Two Cities: Interview with actor Sue Wallace

14 November 2016

Interview: Sue gives us an insight of the differences between acting in TV and Theatre, the roles she plays within the production and her favourite place she has been to on tour!

Sue Wallace as protective Miss Pross and Shanaya Rafaat as Lucie ManetteTell us about the characters you play
Mrs Keating is the saucy landlady of the Homesick Cabin Boy Inn at Chatham, where the naval dockyards are. One of Dickens' "characters", she positively thrives on being a witness at the Old Bailey trial. She has probably been bribed to identify Darnay to get him convicted but Carson's questioning and her poor eyesight lead to him being released.

Miss Pross is Lucie Manette's  companion and housekeeper, having helped to raise her from a young child after her father's imprisonment and her mother's death. She is fiercely protective of Lucie, very caring but also quite feisty.

 

What are Miss Pross’ motivations? Why do you think she is so devoted to Lucie Manette?
Miss Pross, having no children of her own, has taken on the role of mother to Lucie and her motives are inevitable. She wants to protect her and would do anything to ensure her happiness, even to the point of risking her life when she fights Madame Defarge.

 

Has there been anything you’ve learned about Dickens or A Tale of Two Cities that surprised you?
I learned how Dickens  was a passionately outspoken supporter of the poor and underprivileged; having suffered poverty himself. He spoke out about social injustice and the need for reform in England .


I think this was why the French Revolution interested him as a subject because the oppression of the people became too much for them to bear. Their cause was just but, of course, some revolutionaries became too extreme in their thirst for blood and revenge.

 

When did you first decide to go into acting?
In top infants, I was in a production of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, at junior school, an amateur youth group was formed which I was involved with. My dad encouraged my hobby (although he really wanted me to be a teacher!) I'd say I knew I wanted to act from quite a young age.

 

How would you describe the differences between acting in TV and theatre?
The rehearsal process in theatre is very creative and the cast become a sort of family. The live performance is always different. There are always new things to be discovered depending on the audience and the different venues. TV is also creative but more of a technical medium. You are more beholden to the camera, making sure your positions are right and — unless you are lucky enough to be in a long series — you don't form such close friendships. All my close friends were met in theatre.

 

Is there a previous role of yours that you look back with a particular fondness?
Mam in Alan Bennett's Enjoy was a real joy to play .She was based on his own mother who was naturally funny.
Also Mistress Quickly in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor at the Globe Theatre. I'm still friends with all that cast and we got to go to New York and Los Angeles with it which made it extra special.  Michael Garner, who plays Mr Lorry in A Tale of Two Cities was also in it so it's lovely to be working with him again.

 

What has been your favourite place on tour so far?
It's  great to be visiting so many lovely old theatres. Wolverhampton Grand was particularly welcoming and has just been beautifully  refurbished. It looks amazing. Brighton was also great fun with very appreciative audiences and a real buzzing place.

 

 

 


A Tale of Two Cities opens at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it plays from 10 to 17 September 2016. It then tours to Oxford Playhouse, Richmond Theatre, Bradford Alhambra, Blackpool Grand, Wolverhampton Grand, Brighton Theatre Royal, Edinburgh King's, Cheltenham Everyman and Nottingham Theatre Royal. 

Get tickets for this show by visiting our tour page.