Putting the Nation on Stage

Meet the Cast :Vaishnavi Suryaprakash

October 23, 2019

What do you look for in a role and what drew you to White Pearl?

The first time I read the play, I was sitting on my bed, moving through the (e-)pages of the script, desperately wanting to know if/how White Pearl’s media crisis would be resolved … totally oblivious to my family’s repeated calls to come down for dinner. If I’m ignoring food, you know something’s up. The play sucks you into the action before the first line is even spoken, and along the journey you’re treated to some dynamic dialogue and cracking characters you’ve probably never met before. That’s enough to get me hooked.

Tell me a little bit about your character. How did you prepare to get into the role?

I play Priya, who is the founder and CEO of the cosmetics startup White Pearl. She’s ambitious, savvy, and intelligent (though her EQ may be lacking a little…). Her company is really starting to take off, and her dreams are finally being realised, when a media scandal threatens to destroy everything she’s built.

Preparing to get into Priya’s shoes was an interesting task, as on the page she is often very blunt and forceful in her language and views. A key for me was to humanise her, find out what in her life moulded her this way, and flesh her out three-dimensionally.

Tell us about your fellow cast members? 

What a joy it is to work with this ensemble of actors! Everyone has a deep connection to their character’s cultural heritage and history, and it has been fascinating to learn more about that over the course of rehearsals. They’re always up for a laugh, with kind words to spare.

What is your relationship with Western Sydney?

I live in Western Sydney so it is my backyard, really. I’m very pleased to see the growth in arts initiatives in suburbs close to home over the past 5-10 years – it does provide really valuable opportunity to Western Sydney residents to be part of the Sydney arts culture. I hope eventually that the work created by the Western Sydney arts scene is seen as just as important and worthy as what’s happening closer to the harbour – and is also recognised as being for everyone, not just others in Western Sydney.

How do you think audiences will react to White Pearl?

I think each audience member will react uniquely to the play, depending in part on their age and cultural background. It is an intentionally provocative piece of writing, one that you will probably leave you talking after the show.

On another level, I hope the show is also empowering to audiences – these characters are Asian women who are not afraid of taking up space.

What are you working on next?

Next up, I will be working on a double bill as part of the all-female IGNITE Collective. We are presenting two new works in December at Kings Cross Theatre. It’s going to be a hoot!

WHITE PEARL
24 Oct – 9 Nov