Interview with Jesse Akele

Opening at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre this week, Sirens is a new play exploring themes of belonging, family ties and forgiveness. I caught up with Interview with Jesse Akele, who plays Isla, to find out more.

Can you tell me about Sirens? 
Sirens is set on the small island of Mersea, Essex and takes us on a 34-year journey exploring the fragility of a family unit damaged by abandonment and lost time.

How would you describe your character? 
Isla’s definitely a handful! She’s very strong minded and can be brutally honest at times. Most of all she just wants to start living. She’s filled with excitement for the future and isn’t afraid to go for it.

What was it about the play that appealed to you?  
The first thing that stood out to me was the language. Kenny’s writing has a such a truthful rhythm and relatability that it echoes things that have been said to you or you’ve probably said yourself. I also love how far the story takes us and that we really get to see the characters change over time.

What can audiences expect? 
You can expect to be taken on quite an emotional journey. The play has a weight to it. Just like in life, the characters experience light and shade. You’ll be right there with us!

How are rehearsals going? 
We’re having a great time, there’s fantastic chemistry in the room and its refreshing to be a part of a play that’s constantly evolving.

What would you like Sirens to achieve? 
Hopefully you’ll go away from Sirens feeling sated. You will have had a slice of what life could be like on Mersea Island. We are all products of our environment and our upbringing. Not to mention the political lansdscape in which we live. This story evokes how precariously our futures are shaped.

Sirens runs at the Mercury Theatre until 6 November.

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