Belinda Lang: 'If I could change one thing I'd eliminate the killing gene'
As she prepares to open in the Orange Tree's production of Humble Boy, we ask Belinda Lang 20 questions about the show and her life
1. How would you describe Humble Boy in five words?
It's a good night out.
2. How would you describe your character, Flora?
Well – she's described as a very attractive woman in her late 50s. She looks good for her age – ha! Dream on… I'm still rehearsing so not entirely sure who she is yet… but, disappointed, vain, brusque, misunderstood.
3. What do you enjoy the most about starring in this production?
Paul Miller says being directed by Paul Miller – so I'll say that.
4. One of the characters is a beekeeper, will there be bees?
There will be bees, despite Flora's best efforts.
5. Did you jump at the chance to play Flora?
I don't jump much these days – I may have hopped
6. Did you know the play before you were offered a role?
Yes – I saw it at the National Theatre when it first opened. I'd just done another play by Charlotte Jones – Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis. She's a wonderfully vivid writer.
7. You do a lot of both TV and theatre – do you have a preference?
Depends what it is and who else is involved.
8. The Orange Tree is an in the round theatre, what are the challenges of a space like that?
Well, it's hard not to see another actor you're not meant to notice in a scene and if you want the audience to observe an important moment or a prop, you do have to circulate a bit – but I like the all-embracing nature of an in the round theatre.
9. What's your earliest memory in entertainment?
My mother in a musical comedy – I apparently stood up and shouted 'Don't laugh at my mummy!'
10. What do you consider to be your big break?
I never really had a big break. Just a series of jobs – and a few gaps.
11. What would you have been if you hadn't become a performer?
Probably unemployed, but I would have liked to have run a gallery or an independent bookshop.
12. What is it that draws you to acting?
I'm not particularly drawn to it. It's just what I do.
13. Had you always thought you would be an actor?
I'm afraid I didn't give it much thought – it just seemed like natural choice at the time. The family business I suppose.
14. Who are your idols?
I'm not big on idolatry, but I'm substantially impressed by other people's talent and skill. People who invent things, write music, go exploring, put their lives at risk or carry on in the face of adversity.
15. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
I'd go back to the dawn of time and eliminate the killing gene – and I'd add some more hours to the day.
16. What have you seen onstage recently?
Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall. Very good. So clever to use that space and so fleetly acted. Girl from the North Country with the astonishing Shirley Henderson and many favourite Bob Dylan songs. And I'm doing the Hamilton lottery, because I'm obsessed with the cast album.
17. Your husband is also an actor - how do you manage your careers?
We stumble on.
18. What do you do to unwind in your spare time?
Try to catch up with all the little chores I've been putting off – but the list still keeps getting longer.
19. What would your dream role be?
Something that involved touring to exotic places, on fabulous train journeys.
20. What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Humble Boy runs at the Orange Tree Theatre from 12 March to 14 April with previews from 8 March.