You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stagecraft Podcast: Billie Piper on Updating ‘Yerma’ for the Modern Day

“I didn’t want to be weaving baskets and lamenting about the oxen.”

That’s the actress Billie Piper talking about “Yerma” on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast. Piper, best known in the U.S. for TV roles in “Doctor Who” and “Penny Dreadful,” delves into her lead role in the contemporary adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1934 play, a performance that she’s currently reprising at New York’s Park Avenue Armory after it won her an Olivier Award in the U.K.

She loved the original play, she says, but she wasn’t so interested in doing the role with all the trappings of the period (like those baskets and oxen). That’s why she leapt at the chance to work with writer-director Simon Stone on the new, updated version that’s playing at the Armory through April 21.

“Yerma,” about a woman driven to extremes by her inability to conceive a child, takes the actress to some very raw, vulnerable places, but she seems to take it all in stride. “I find it quite a cathartic experience, myself,” she says. “I feel like theater satisfies me in that way, sort of gets rid of loads of my own stuff. You’re done by the end, but I don’t know that it’s a massive sort of dark toll that it takes on me.”

On Stagecraft, Piper also touches on her early days as a U.K. pop star and her transition into acting — including her time as a cult-favorite companion in the 2005 revival of long-running TV franchise “Doctor Who.” “I never watched it as a kid, and I’m not a sci-fi fan,” Piper laughs. “It had very little interest to me. But it’s been a bit of a life-changer, that. It’s huge.”

She also talks about what’s up for her next — and the musical that might be in her future.

Download and subscribe to Stagecraft at iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

More Legit

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

  • Daniel Radcliffe

    Listen: How Broadway Made Daniel Radcliffe a Better Actor

    Acting onstage has been a regular part of Daniel Radcliffe’s career for more than a decade — and the “Harry Potter” star says there’s a good reason for that: It’s made him better. “It gives me a lot of confidence as an actor, which is not always something that I’ve felt,” Radcliffe said on the [...]

  • The Jungle review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Jungle'

    With the rumbling of semis careening by and the sound of Middle Eastern music in the distance, “The Jungle” aims to vividly immerse audiences into the world of the real-life migrant and refugee camp of the same name. By telling the story of the Jungle’s creation in Calais, France, in 2015, and its eventual destruction [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • 'Network' Review: Bryan Cranston Stars on

    Broadway Review: 'Network' With Bryan Cranston

    The 1976 film “Network” won four Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for writer Paddy Chayefsky, for its blistering portrayal of an American society fueled by greed and bloated on corruption. A haggard Peter Finch took the best actor trophy for his harrowing performance as Howard Beale, a TV newsman who is so disgusted by [...]

  • Faye DunawayVanity Fair Oscar Party, Arrivals,

    Faye Dunaway to Play Katharine Hepburn on Broadway

    Faye Dunaway will return to Broadway to play another acting diva. The Oscar-winner is set to portray Katharine Hepburn in “Tea at Five,” a one-woman play that charts the movie legend’s career over the course of a winding monologue. Dunaway last appeared on Broadway in 1982’s “The Curse of the Aching Heart.” In the 1990s, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content