Hysteria - Buxton Opera House and Cast, Doncaster, Today to March 1

Summer Strallen as Jessica in the play, Hysteria
Summer Strallen as Jessica in the play, Hysteria
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A comedy about an imagined meeting between eccentric artist Salvador Dali and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud during World War Two is touring to Doncaster and Buxton this month.

Actress Summer Strallen plays Jessica in London Classic Theatre’s national tour of Hysteria. Summer’s career in theatre and television includes appearances on Hollyoaks and Land Girls.

Career highlight is getting to kiss Ewan McGregor

Here she talks about the show and her career in a Q&A.

What drew you to the character of Jessica?

In my career I am always looking for a challenge and what Jessica goes through is certainly that. Without giving too much away, the issues she brings to Sigmund Freud are extremely complex and confusing, so having the opportunity to try to unravel them and unpick the labyrinth of her mind has been extremely satisfying.

Where do you start when first approaching a new role?

I try to read the play as many times as possible before rehearsals start and learn as much as I can but I come from a movement background so find it easier to learn lines when I am up on my feet in the rehearsal space. Once I have a ‘mind map’ of where I am on the stage while I’m saying something, it really helps solidify the words in my brain.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I suffer with terrible nerves at the beginning of a run but, after a while, that subsides and I can enjoy it more. To help at the start of a run I do EFT which is Emotional Freedom Training. It helps me get rid of any nerves or negative thoughts that might fly around my head. The worst critics I’ve ever come across have been my own thoughts so I have to keep them in check.

I also regularly meditate, say prayers, make wishes and do spells… whatever I feel may help me quiet down the voices in my head! Most people have them, I’m just willing to admit it!

What do you have in your dressing room?

If I can, I usually have my two dogs, Bam Bam and Pebbles, with me but if the theatre doesn’t allow them in, I will always try to have my Neal’s Yard Essential oils diffuser with a collection of oils next to it. Also, my Dr Nelson’s steamer in case my voice is tired. I’ll also have a towel, flannel, tissues and any make-up I might need. And a mug! Moray Treadwell (playing Dr Abraham Yahuda) has assigned himself as tea monitor for the interval!

What are your memories of your first time on a stage?

I don’t really have a memory of first stepping on a stage because I was so young when I started performing and before I could really take stock it had already just become second nature to be on one. I’m sure there is some footage of it floating around somewhere!

What have been your career highlights?

Career highlight for sure is getting to kiss Ewan McGregor for eight months when I was his dance partner in The Donmar production of Guys and Dolls. I’m sure me kissing him is top of his list too! Haha!

Hysteria is at Buxton Opera House from today to Saturday. Box office: 01298 72190 or visit Buxton Opera House The show moves to Cast in Doncaster on February 28 and March 1. Box office: call 01302 303959 or go to Cast in Doncaster