Gabby Wong: actor
Gabby Wong is making her Royal Shakespeare Company debut in The Jew of Malta and Love’s Sacrifice, which run in rep in Stratford throughout the summer
This is your RSC debut, so how are you finding working in Stratford?
It’s amazing but pretty full on. We rehearsed the two plays in London for two months so it feels good to finally be here. I haven’t been to Stratford since I came on a school trip, so that was a while ago. The cottage where I’m staying is just across the road from the theatre so I don’t have to get on the Tube in the morning and have a murderous rage, which is very refreshing. Having the whole company here as well makes it feel like going back to uni, but a lot more grown up and a lot more hard work. The RSC has such a reputation for incubating fledgling young actors, so it’s a privilege.
Do you enjoy performing classical texts, as both these shows are?
I love how they are a bit more poetic, it makes it nicer to hit those notes when you do hit them. I remember meeting my first potential agent and they asked me where I envisaged my career going. Straight away I said “the RSC”. Then she said, “I don’t really see you as a classical actor”. Needless to say I didn’t go with her, but it does make it feel even better to finally be realising that ambition and working with these classical texts.
How difficult is it to rehearse two plays in rep?
It took a little while to get used to. When we started we did a week and a half on The Jew of Malta and a week and a half on Love’s Sacrifice, so we did get to have that foundation before going into full rep rehearsal mode. It sounds crazy to be rehearsing two plays at one time but then I remembered that’s exactly what we did at drama school, it’s just a case of getting used to it. I think my training has made me quite malleable in that way, but it’s still hard to get your head around because [rep theatre] is not something that occurs so much any more.
What kind of work have you done in the past?
I graduated a while ago and it has mainly been theatre since. I was lucky that just before I graduated I had a job for five months so I didn’t have the initial fear that everyone had when they leave drama school of finding that first job. The reality hit later on and I’m sad to say this but mostly the things I’ve done have been race specific. That’s not the case here, which is refreshing, but it has been something I have experienced. I enjoy theatre more than screen. It is something that I want to do, working on screen, but it’s totally different and I feel like I need to learn more first. Next year that’s my goal. Look out for me on Holby City.
The Jew of Malta runs in the Swan Theatre, Stratford from March 25 to June 29. Love’s Sacrifice runs in the same venue from April 11 to June 13