Former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper is to make her Young Vic debut tonight. She will take on the titular role in an adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s Spanish play ‘Yerma’.
This new play will be written and directed by Australian Simon Stone, whose previous work includes the award-winning ‘The Wild Duck’. His version of Yerma moves the action from rural Spain to modern-day London.
The play concerns a young woman who is unable to bear children, and the disastrous consequences this has on her family and on her life. Yerma means “barren” in Spanish.
Piper said to the BBC, “I read the original, and I thought that it was one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry. It’s that story of a modern woman who is suddenly suffocated and strangled by her ticking clock. I witness that all around me, and I read about it frequently. I thought that it seemed like a very relevant piece of work.”
Yerma was written and first performed in 1934. It was described by Lorca as “a tragic poem” about a woman who is driven to commit a crime because of her obsession with bearing a child. It will be adapted and updated for the stage.
This new play adds to Piper’s already impressive CV. She has appeared on the stage in ‘Great Britain’ and ‘The Effect’, both at the National Theatre. Going on to be nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress for her role in The Effect. She also starred in ‘Reasons To Be Pretty’ at the Almeida and ‘Treats’ at the Garrick. Pier played companion Rose Tyler with Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor, and with the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant.
Piper said of the play that she wants it to be funny. “I feel like we’re making something that is very grounded in its concept, but feels very filmic in its energy,” she stated.
The set will be designed by Lizzie Clachan, costumes by Alice Babidge, James Farncombe will be in control of the lighting with Stefan Gregory on music and sound. Her co-star is Brendan Cowell.