Behind the Scenes with Jenny Wakefield
Duchess of Plaza Toro - The Gondoliers
Tell me about your character in The Gondoliers. What do you think of them? Do you have anything in common?
I play the role of the Duchess of Plaza Toro, mother of the soon to be Queen of Barataria (Casilda, played by Kimberley Colman).
She is a very disappointed woman. She married the Duke, believing him to be a good catch only to find herself married to a man who lives beyond his means. She is very domineering and constantly tries to rule the Duke.
I like her as she is feisty, but she is also very mercenary, don’t think she’d be someone you could confide in!
We have some traits in common as we both believe we are always right!
What role would you love to play that you haven’t had a chance to as yet?
I’ve played pretty much all of the G&S contralto roles, but I’ve always wanted to play Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd.
Who’s the funniest person in the cast?
On or off the stage? I haven’t seen too much of the peasant side of the cast as we haven’t had many rehearsals together. I always find the two gondoliers (Luke Belle and Michael Dimovski) and their wives (Kristen Ryan and Erin Towns) really fun.
Favourite line from the show?
“That man is a Duke and I will love him! Several of my relations bet me I couldn’t but I did – desperately!”
What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
Making the Duchess a three dimensional character and not just the usual figure of fun.
"That man is a Duke and I will love him! Several of my relations bet me I couldn’t but I did – desperately!"
Would you like to play any other character in the show?
Not really, unless I could play one of the Gondoliers!
When did you first perform?
In school I did a few plays but I didn’t sing until I was in the chorus of HMS Pinafore with Loyola Musical Society.
What do you do when you’re not doing theatre?
I’m a teacher of Physical Education, and History.
What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage?
I often find my mind goes blank before the first scene, so I quickly read through the scene before I go to the stage, then I take a few deep breaths and try to become my character.
GSOV presents The Gondoliers: one of William S Gilbert's & Arthur Sullivan's most entertaining and enduring collaborations, filled with toe-tapping tunes, fantastic dancing and romance aplenty in a far off sunny isle.
GSOV's latest production is a timely and witty reflection on the values of Monarchy and Republicanism and features seasoned performers from the worlds of opera, musical theatre and classic dance. A standout show from a much loved and venerable organisation, an effervescent event not to be missed!