Kathryn Hunter talks about playing eleven characters in The Emperor
29th September 2016
Kathryn Hunter plays eleven of the faithful servants of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in The Emperor, Colin Teevan’s adaptation of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński’s book charting his reign and downfall through their eyes. Walter Meierjohann directs. In two complementary interviews (each of which also stands alone), they speak to Judi Herman about building up a picture of the Emperor and his reign, of these eleven men and what it says of the nature of power. And they speak about the collaboration at the heart of their work with Teevan and with Ethiopian musician Temesgen Zeleke and the whole creative team. Interview with Kathryn Hunter recorded on 20 September at the Young Vic.
“I just get a picture and try and inhabit it physically of that body. And of course one has to become very familiar with their memories, because they are reporting their memories. So it’s working up a bank of memories of how it went their day, their hour with the Emperor over some 26 years. And as I work I keep accruing more memories – as one would”