Emilia Clarke is making her West End stage debut playing Nina in Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” a production that was originally set to launch in March 2020 but was suspended after four preview performances because of the pandemic. Now Clarke is finally taking the stage, and she’s surely hoping it goes better than her 2013 Broadway debut in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The “Game of Thrones” favorite recently told the BBC that her debut was a “catastrophic failure” she wasn’t ready for.
Clarke was two years into her “Game of Thrones” fame when she tackled Broadway for the first time as Holly Golightly opposite Cory Michael Smith as Fred and George Wendt as Joe Bell in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Her performance was widely panned. The New York Times said Clarke acted like “an under-age debutante trying very, very hard to pass for a sophisticated grown-up,” while Variety wrote that her performance “won’t make Broadway audiences forget” Audrey Hepburn’s iconic turn in the film adaptation. Other critics stated that Clarke was miscast in the role.
“[It was a] catastrophic failure,” Clarke said. “It was just not ready. Was I ready? No, I was definitely not ready. I was a baby. I was so young and so inexperienced.”
As she takes the stage once more for “The Seagull,” Clarke added, “It’s 10 times more frightening because there’ll be people wanting to go and say, ‘Well she can only act on camera, she clearly can’t act on stage,’ which is obviously the biggest fear.”
“Hopefully they’ll come and go, ‘We just came to see the Mother of Dragons, oh how frustrating, she’s not on a dragon, this isn’t what I paid for,'” she said. “Spoiler: I’m not on a dragon at any point during this play. But hopefully what they get, as a kind of little extra, is that they get to enjoy this play that they might not have seen otherwise.”
Joining Clarke in the West End production of “The Seagull” is Tom Rhys Harries, who plays Trigorin. The play is set to run from June 30 to September 10 at the Harold Pinter Theatre.