Tuesday 23 October 2018

WATCH: Think your make-up routine is complex? Check out Amy Ross greening up for Wicked

Amy Ross's transformation is almost complete for WICKED
Amy Ross's transformation is almost complete for WICKED
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Wicked lands at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre this week for a seven-week run and for actress Amy Ross that means a hell of a lot of green make-up for her daily transformation into Elphaba!

You can check out the process and the products involved in the video, and here the talented star gives us some insight into the show (which has now been seen by over 50 million people in 15 countries and won over 100 major awards) and her iconic role:

What made you want to become an actor?

I was the youngest in my family, but always the one standing up on a chair trying to entertain everyone. My mum instinctively sent me to the drama school my older brother was already at, and there was no turning back. But I do remember it really dawning on me at secondary school, whilst acting in plays for GCSE Drama, that I loved the feeling of completely losing yourself in a character, of letting go of any inhibitions and stepping firmly into another person’s shoes.

Can you tell us about the first time you saw Wicked?

I saw the original London cast at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Idina Menzel was playing Elphaba, and I remember feeling really lucky to see the actress who originated the role right at the very start of Wicked’s journey on Broadway. There have been so many wonderful actresses to play the role since, but she set the benchmark for the character. I already knew the soundtrack really well, so it was amazing to see the incredible story unfold and learn how all the songs fit in. I also remember being in awe of how visually stunning it was – and of course still is.

What attracted you to the role of Elphaba?

The thing I was most excited about was how incredibly huge the emotional arc is that Elphaba goes on. She is massively changed by the experiences she goes through and the characters she forms relationships with. The character journey from start to finish is so huge that it’s a gift for any actor to play. It goes without saying that Elphaba’s songs are epic! Steven Schwartz’s score is incredible and singing those sings is so thrilling.

Who is Elphaba? Could you describe her in your own words?

I adore her! She is a green girl who came into the world different. Not just because of the way she looks, but also because of her magical powers. She is an incredibly loyal and passionate person who cares deeply about people, animals, and things being just. She uses her powers to try and do good, but things don’t always go to plan. She is misunderstood, and eventually becomes knows as the Wicked Witch of the West. But is she really ‘wicked’?

Why do you think Elphaba, and by extension, the Wicked Witch of the West have become such iconic figures?

Because they are so powerful. Not just because they are magic, but because they are passionate, bold, and do not apologise for being different. They stay true to their beliefs and fight for what they want, making them forces to be reckoned with.

How would you describe Wicked?

It’s an incredible story showing what happened in Oz before Dorothy arrived on the scene. At the heart of it is a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship between two very different women who become the characters we know as the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North. I would also describe Wicked as visually and aurally stunning. The costumes and sets are magical and the music is epic. A treat for the eyes and ears!

There’s a lot of discussion in the media right now about the importance of caring for your mental health as a performer. Is there anything you do to care for yourself that you’d be willing to share?

I adore candles, the make me feel calm. So I always light one by my bed as soon as I get home from the show. I also think it’s really important to let my mind escape and do things that aren’t related to work or the show. I often take myself off to the cinema on a day off and get lost in a movie, go for a long walk or read a book in a nice café. I actually really enjoy ‘me time’.

returns Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 17 July to 1 September. For more info check out bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

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