Macbeth director Yaël Farber said she knew Saoirse Ronan would “rise to the occasion” on her London stage debut.
The Oscar-nominated actress, who only has one other theatre role to her name, plays Lady Macbeth at the Almeida in Islington.
Farber, who cast the actress and co-star James McArdle during lockdown despite never having met them, said: “I’ve seen her on film and obviously she has an amazing intuitive instinctual capacity for portraying emotions at such depth and I felt a strong sense that when we get in the room we’d be able to work physically in the way that we need to and she would be able to rise to the occasion.”
Both stars worked together in the 2018 film Mary Queen of Scots and Farber said that shared experience made her more confident about the casting. She said: “James and Saoirse are friends so I knew they had that chemistry and a trust. It wouldn’t be like putting two strangers together.”
The play was put back twice due to the pandemic and rehearsals also had to be paused twice due to Covid outbreaks and Farber said it had been “fairly epic just to get to the start line”.
She added: “We just couldn’t be in a more fraught time when nothing seems to make sense and fair is foul and foul is fair.
“When we gathered in that room we were all different people from the artists who went into the pandemic. I know for me personally there is a tremendous sense of achievement just in us having come together and the Almeida deciding to do this work at this time.”
© Evening Standard