20 Questions with… Amygdala's Geraldine Alexander

The premiere of actress Geraldine Alexander’s first stage play ”Amygdala” opened earlier this week (27 November 2013) at the Print Room Theatre

Geraldine Alexander
Geraldine Alexander

1. Where were you born?
Leamington spa.

2. What made you want to become an actor?
I played Alice in Wonderland when I was 10 and fell in love with the Cheshire cat – that was me hooked.

3. If you hadn’t become an actor, what might you have done professionally?
I'd have been a dancer (in my dreams).

4. First big break?
Well I was lucky; early in my career I played Ophelia opposite Robert Lindsay‘s Hamlet at the Royal Exchange and I also played Heavenly in Sweet Bird of Youth with Lauren Bacall directed by Harold Pinter – heady stuff.

5. Career highlights to date?
The above, and some exciting times at the Globe – Tamora in Titus Andronicus and Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I loved doing Miss Marple with Joan Hickson as well – she was wonderful and very funny.

6. Any regrets?
I wish I’d learnt another language beyond GCSE, but there’s still time.

7. What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Alan Howard playing Henry V at Stratford.

8. And the last?
I saw a brilliant show at the Bush Theatre, Disgraced – fantastic cast, fantastic play and beautifully directed.

9. Who are your acting idols?
Melissa Leo, Isabelle Hubert, Julie Delpy (because she’s trying to do it all), Jane Campion (I know she’s a director but she’s an inspiration).

10. What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Don’t give up!

11. Why did you want to get involved in Amygdala?
Well I wrote it and the Print Room said come and do it here and I went yes please.

12. How did you go about writing the play?
I did masses of preparation – research and a couple of readings. I do a lot of research when I act so it was that and some for writing.

13. Favourite line in the show?
Yeah, yeah, missy, missy important papers.

14. Any rehearsal room mishaps?
It’s a minefield of potential mishaps – at one point there was rain flooding through the ceiling but it’s all patched up now. No one can pronounce Amygdala and I love hearing people booking tickets and the box office struggling to explain what it means and how to pronounce it.

Jasper Britton and Hermione Gulliford in Amygdala
Jasper Britton and Hermione Gulliford in Amygdala
© Nobby Clark

15. What do you hope people take away from the show?
Empathy and surprise.

16. What's your favourite post-show hang out?
I love the NT bar when I’m working there, and 2 Brydges Place – it's relaxed, friendly and comfortable with lots of cozy corners to disappear in.

17. How do you unwind?
I run and I read and I lie on the sofa with my boyfriend watching films.

18. If you could swap places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
My daughter; Flo! – to see what she’s getting up to at school.

19. Favourite theatre joke/anecdote?
I love listening to tales of older actors who started at the Old Vic and the early RSC days: all the adventures they got up to – we all seem very tame now in comparison. Lauren Bacall and I went out a couple of times when I was doing Sweet Bird of Youth and she had some stories!

20. What's next?
More writing, more directing and more acting I hope. Plans afoot…

Amygdala runs at the Print Room until 14 December