5 Questions with Anika Bhatia and Margaret Thanos

Anika Bhatia

Margaret Thanos: What is something you admire most about the theatre?
Anika Bhatia: It allows us to think differently. There are constantly new ideas being discovered and explored and old ideas being recreated in new ways. It’s not just a form of entertainment. It is the most visceral art form. It allows us to vicariously see the truth to our own selves and reflect, evaluate and learn and even sometimes laugh or cry during the process.

If you could meet one famous theatre person who would you choose and why?
Damien Ryan from Sport for Jove Theatre. I attended two of his lecture programs for my HSC on The Crucible and Julius Caesar and I was just so impressed and started fan-girling a lot. He’s incredible.

Why is it important that we talk about young people issues?
Because young people are the future?! The struggles of beauty expectations, masculinity, isolation, cyberbullying, the pressure to conform and have sex permeate throughout the play. The decisions that young people make in the face of these struggles become defining moments of their life so it’s important to understand how we make them.

Tell me a little fun fact about you.
Well, I was born in India and moved to Sydney when I was 5. My mum said that we had some connections to the King of Rajasthan at one stage! Fun stuff!

What is something that you have learnt over the course of rehearsals for Intersection 2018: Chrysalis.
It’s been really fun to uncover the truth behind the texts and experience that with Rachel Chant and the creative team. I also learnt a lot from being able to talk to Gretel Vella, the writer of one of the scenes I’m in and understand and discuss the characters and her inspirations for them. From both Rachel and Bec, the assistant director, I’ve learnt that taking risks is really important in the rehearsal process and being able to trust myself and stay committed to my creative decisions.

Margaret Thanos

Anika Bhatia: What is your favourite line/moment in the play? 
Margaret Thanos: “You got bitten by that strange duck that followed you home.” – Blood On Bloody Blood Ladder. It’s not a line that I say, but it’s still glorious! 

How do you get into character? 
I think a lot about whatever has happened just before the scene, so I have the mindset to go into the situation as they would. I think about how they feel about what has just happened and what I want to get out of this scene. I also pace around in the physical way that my character does, so I get a sense of their body and the way that they carry themselves. It helps to remind my brain and body that I am not being Margaret in that moment, but I am someone else in their own life. 

Are there any similarities or differences between you and your character Jess from Victoria’s Secret Angel Virgin/Bakerz Delight?
Well, Jess and I are very different on so many levels! She really allows the opinions of what other people say to get to her, and worries about what other people will think, regardless of her own feelings and I think that is where we are most different. She also talks a mile a minute and basically spills out any thoughts that come into her head, while I tend to take more time with what I say. However, there are definitely similarities too! We are both 17, and I love how she has an awareness of the social issues in town, she sometimes builds things up in her mind to be bigger than what they need to be, and I think I do that too, and she gets annoyed at people interrupting her education – which is definitely a trait of mine! 

What is it like working with Rachel Chant?
Honestly, it is SO AMAZING. I am truly blown away by her insight into the play, the intricate meaning in every moment and her attention to detail. The crew and cast on this production is so fabulously talented and I am so grateful to have been a part of Intersection 2018: Chrysalis

What makes this show great for young people and adults alike? 
As a 17 year old you are really on the precipice of your life, waiting for it to start almost, while completing a really stressful period of school. You are also constantly thinking about the future so there are a lot of conflicted and confused ideas running around in your head and I think this show captures that really well. I truly believe that many young people who watch this show will resonate with at least one of the short plays. I think it’s great for young people that so many awkward situations that are typical for 17 year olds are being shown through this play, to show that these fears and desires that they have are not individual to them, but that so many others are going through the exact same experience. For adults, especially ones that have young people in their lives, I think that this show really looks into the teenage condition and all the great and terrible moments being 17 brings with it, and I think that is something really important for adults to understand and empathise with. 

Anika Bhatia and Margaret Thanos are appearing in Intersection 2018: Chrysalis.
Dates: 31 January – 17 February, 2018
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre