Artistic Director James Haddrell was interviewed by Maritime Radio’s Duncan Martin in the run up to the airing of a three-part series titled, The Story Of The Yara, to be broadcasted on the station over this Christmas holidays. As we move into the New Year, Greenwich Theatre will unveil a number of its own productions of which The Story Of The Yara is one. This story is a fairytale and is an adaptation of Brazilian folklore. This rendition of a classic, universal mermaid tale delivers a narrative with contemporary sensibilities. Here’s what James had to say about the production.
“This is a tale from Brazilian folklore, it’s the sort of tale from all around the world, it’s repeated in folktales from various countries. Everywhere has a mermaid myth and this is Brazil’s version. Quite often you find that in the mermaid myth, the mermaid is not a nice character, they’re not Disney’s ‘Ariel’. They lure people into the waters.”
We had a look at this story and we decided that we wanted to make it more relevant to today. These old stories always have the villains as wicked women, men can largely do whatever they want, there are always issues with people coming from overseas. We just wanted to address all of that, but stay true to the story. So we’ve got this lovely story performed by a cast of six professional actors, with original songs by a songwriter called Chloe Bezer, who is amazing and plays all the music on a cello. It’s a tale of ‘Julia’ who’s trapped in this town. The only thing of any interest to her is the forest and no one’s allowed to go there because of the Yara, this mermaid…or is it! It’s about her (‘Julia’s’) adventures to discover what’s going on.”
“Chloe is a solo artist. We came across Chloe during lockdown. We worked with her converting one of her live stages into a podcast, so we’d worked with her before. All the music is played on a cello, which is really unusual, certainly for a stage piece – or any kind of piece that uses that as a principal instrument. She’s an astonishing musician.”
James adds that although the story may have some connection to our deep fears, there is some comfort to the stories;
“You’re right, it does play on our fears but it’s in the best Christmas tradition, like A Christmas Carol, it’s not frightening it is a family story.”