We catch up with The Overcoat’s lead, Marta Vella, who tells us why this adaptation is the one to see.
There have been many versions of Gogol’s famed short story. Why should audiences come to see this version of The Overcoat?
This is a classic story retold with a woman as its lead as opposed to the original. Shows like this prove that a great tragic figure can have equal power when played by a woman. Also, this is a modern adaptation, both in relation to its references but also in terms of its staging which makes it relevant and engaging to a 21st century audience. The way music and choreography weave into the storytelling make for a magical evening at the theatre.
Marta, tell us about Akakiy Akakievichna your character in the play, is there anything you did in particular to prepare for the role?
She is somebody that is committed to her job and is very content in her very insular existence. Despite living by the rules she still gets trampled over by the cruelty of the world. Who can’t relate to that? How many times have we worked so hard just to be disappointed by the outcome. We are told as children that as long as we work hard and are committed we will get what we want but there comes a time when you realise you have been lied to for most of your life. I tried to tap into those moments of realisation to play Akakiy.
You are quite a household name where you are from in Malta. What brought you to the UK?
After playing various lead roles in most of the major theatres in Malta, I formed my own successful theatre company, and made use of all the major opportunities that a small island could offer, I thought it was time to take the leap and apply to drama school in London. I was extremely honoured when I was offered a place at RADA and the year spent doing my Masters there was the most challenging, yet rewarding experience in my life. Most recently I have performed in Les Enfants Terribles’ Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Vaults and I am truly excited to be playing Akakiy once again at the Omnibus Theatre.
What do you both want audiences to come away feeling after seeing this play?
This story follows someone who has been repeatedly failed by the institutions that are meant to protect her, I’d want audiences to think about the state of the institutions in our society and if they are serving their purposes or not.
What next after The Overcoat?
I’ve been commissioned to write a couple of projects in Malta as well as working on touring my play over there and I’m very excited for whatever 2018 will bring in London!