Samantha Barks on Starring in London’s The Last Five Years

first_img Samantha Barks came to worldwide attention as Eponine in the film of Les Miserables but has an extensive list of stage credits including Les Miz, Aladdin and City of Angels. The 26-year-old Isle of Man native can now be found in the intimate confines of the St James Theatre playing Cathy opposite Jonathan Bailey’s Jamie in The Last Five Years, the Jason Robert Brown song cycle first seen off-Broadway in 2002. Barks took time during rehearsals to talk about fulfilling a longstanding dream.Is this a show you knew already?Did I know it? [Laughs.] I’ve been obsessed with this show basically for years! When I first heard it, I thought, “God I’d love to play this part” [of Cathy.] That was my teenage dream: I could literally sing the entire score myself.What was it like when you went to audition for Jason Robert Brown for this production?When I met him, he asked me whether I was familiar with the show, and I basically had to be as cool as possible.Why do you think you responded so intently to the piece all those years ago?It was because the songs felt like contemporary pop music to me. I was 13 or something at the time, and it was one of the first musicals I’d heard to have that contemporary sound.Weren’t you too young to know firsthand what Cathy was going through?Yes, and what’s funny is I remember my heart aching without ever having had a relationship myself. I think I just thought, “Oh, men!” as you do when you’re a teenager. I was obviously on Cathy’s side.Have your thoughts changed with time?I guess what’s interesting as you get older is that you completely see both sides of [Jamie and Cathy’s] relationship. It seems clear to me that the intention is there for them to love one another, but life directs them apart. It’s all very complex.What do you make of the structure of the show, which tells Cathy’s story in reverse?It’s so intriguing to start in the place you would normally finish, but the beauty of Jason’s writing is in the simplicity of it. And it’s a weird thing, you know, when you have a breakup and you’ve got to get to grips with all the memories, and that’s kind of how her story works. We travel back to the place where she starts to crumble.Does that mean you and [co-star] Jonathan Bailey are in different emotional places at different times?What we’ve noticed is because Cathy’s story ends at a more hopeful beginning, I step out of rehearsals every day with a spring in my step whereas Johnny, as Jamie [whose story moves forwards], comes in first thing all springy and happy and by the end, he’s in bits!What’s it like starting the show with a song as mournful as “Still Hurting”?Every beat of that song is linked so deeply to the emotion that you just have to ride it. But it’s written so beautifully that it’s not hard to go to the places [the song] asks you to go.How did it feel to be starting in on this just as you were turning 26?I just think of it as such a great birthday gift! It’s like, what would my 13 or 14-year-old self think if she knew that on my 26th birthday, I would be rehearsing with Jason Robert Brown? She wouldn’t believe me. It was as if that girl then was saying, “Oh God, I want to talk about the show all the time,” whereas I look at her and think, “but you hadn’t had a relationship!”Was it hard to arrive at the evenhandedness you now feel towards the characters?Well, I’m a woman, obviously, so you think that’s going to determine your point of view. But what I’ve come to discover about the show is that we’re not just one character or the other: it’s not just a generalized man or woman. These are complex, sensitive people who have contrasting egos the way everyone has. I’m sure most people feel at times as if they have been Cathy or Jamie.Does it feel like a competition, or, at least, a relay race?What’s interesting once you get into the flow of it is that it really isn’t “my song/your song.” It feels more like passing the baton as part of one big monologue, and I have to say the time flies by so quickly.How does it feel playing an American—or at least this American?That’s interesting because I’ve not done a New York accent, though heaven knows I do love that place. There’s such energy about it, and a buzz. Everyone’s always in such a rush.  Do you recognize yourself in Cathy, who after all is also an actress?I do. I mean, I moved away from the Isle of Man to London myself so very much empathize with her moving to the big city to fulfill her dream. What happens then is that she finds herself alongside Jamie as these two very ambitious people in a place that is very right for him and not so right for her.What has been the impact of the recent Anna Kendrick/Jeremy Jordan film?The thing with the movie is that they brought it up to now whereas we’re doing the original script, which is set in 1993. But hopefully the film allows the show to reach another audience—I always think without films of some of these musicals, so many people wouldn’t know the shows at all.But doesn’t the movie make a snarky reference to Russell Crowe, your co-star in the Les Miz film?Yes, but we don’t have that in our show. We’re sticking with Linda Blair. Star Files Samantha Barks in ‘The Last Five Years'(Photo: Scott Rylander) View Comments Samantha Barkslast_img read more

Behind a desk all day? 4 ways to stay healthy while sitting

first_imgProper posture pleaseStart paying closer attention to your habits and the positions you’re in throughout the day while behind your desk. Are you slouching and squinting at your screen, or sitting up with your monitor in the proper place? Check out these tips for a comfortable workspace and how to follow “office ergonomics.”Take a standJust because the majority of your work takes place behind a desk doesn’t mean you have to sit from 9-5. Check out a computer stand that will take your desk to new heights. Alternating from a sitting position to standing upright can significantly impact not only your posture and physical health, but also your demeanor and energy level.Leave at lunchYou may be tempted to work through lunch and eat while sitting at your desk, but opt outside. Use your break wisely and stretch your legs and get some Vitamin D. Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, take a walk outdoors and give yourself a mental break.Purchase a pedometerJump on the Fitbit trend and start counting those steps! That way you’ll be paying closer attention to your physical activity when you’re away from your desk. Studies have found that professionals who are mostly sedentary benefit greatly from pedometers and see an increase in physical activity. 87SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendy Moody Wendy Moody is a Senior Editor with CUInsight.com. Wendy works with the editorial team to help edit the content including current news, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps … Web: www.cuinsight.com Detailslast_img read more

Manchester United vs Arsenal is no rivalry – just two mediocre teams in need of a win

first_imgRoy Keane and Patrick Vieira had many memorable Premier League clashes in midfield (Picture: Getty)Doubtless that the rivalry between Keane and Vieira will be a point of much discussion this evening, and perhaps they might even try to compare a similar battle in the midfield tonight. But is anyone really expecting Granit Xhaka and Scott McTominay to start a scrap in the centre circle or confront each other in the tunnel at half-time?And if they do, will either be able to back it up with a barnstorming performance on the pitch to gain bragging rights and an invaluable three points? It does not seem likely. Perhaps Matteo Guendouzi will briefly start shouting at someone. That is the best we can hope for.AdvertisementBoth sides have spent a decade trying to replace their antagonists in midfield, a decade failing. It is fair to say that the game has moved on and that the type of player they both were does not necessarily exist in the same way, but even the modern equivalent – the N’Golo Kante, whose running and covering is the new version of Keane’s no-nonsense tackling – has eluded them.Paul Ince said this week that he could dominate the game tonight – ‘I’d love to play against this Arsenal midfield, absolutely love it’ – while Dimitar Berbatov accused United of being ‘too soft’ in big games. Neither are wrong. How the mighty are fallen.Both teams can prove something to the other this evening, that they still have stomach for the fight. But will we be talking about this clash for years to come? Somehow, I doubt it. We probably will have forgotten it by Thursday.Who will win at Old Trafford?Arsenal0%Manchester United0%Draw0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMore: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors Advertisement Comment Advertisement No fourth official relished separating Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson (Picture: Getty)It did not take long for the two to clash as Wenger questioned changes to the fixture list because it allowed ‘Manchester United to rest and win everything’. Ferguson responded that the newcomer from Japan – Wenger’s previous job had been with Nagoya Grampus Eight – should ‘keep his mouth shut’.United had been winning everything of course and Ferguson was unused to being challenged on anything, inside his own dressing room or outside, all of a sudden had a rival whose new-fangled ideas threatened his Premier League autocracy.Compare that rivalry to the two men who will shake hands on the touchline tonight at Old Trafford, Unai Emery and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Both are interesting characters but hardly strong ones: Solskajer’s chief management policy appears to be publicly praise every player he possibly can, while contradicting those words with his selection and transfer strategy. Emery meanwhile relies on Freddie Ljunberg to make himself understood to the players and has five different captains, the leader of whom is perhaps his least reliable player in his squad.AdvertisementAdvertisementMore: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errorsAnd that is part of the problem. Everything that gets flashed up during Sky’s two-hour pre-game – featuring Roy Keane in person – will be increasingly grainy footage of Keane himself getting angry in the tunnel, Patrick Vieira squaring up to anyone who will dare to stand his ground and Martin Keown celebrating in Ruud van Nistelrooy’s face. It will be an hour of men in their 40s reminiscing about times gone by, when football was football and men were really men.It is not an edifying prospect. In all likelihood, they will not spend that long talking about the game at hand – and who can blame them? Both teams sit in mid-table with three defeats and four draws between them already in the Premier League this season. Once upon a time, these two sides would have been aiming to end the season with figures like that next to their name.But instead, the modernity of Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and even Chelsea has seen them left behind.center_img James GrayMonday 30 Sep 2019 11:21 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link229Shares Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery have little rivalry to speak of (Picture: Getty)Manchester United vs Arsenal used to be the one we all put into our diaries.When the fixtures came out, even if you weren’t a Red Devil or a Gunner, you would do anything you could to make sure that your partner had something else do, the kids had a play-date at someone else’s house and no-one was getting married – if they were, they’d better have Sky at the reception.The TV networks would create montages of montages, set to epic music with as many pop culture references as they could jam into 90 seconds, and the build-up to ‘Super Sunday’ or ‘Manic Monday’ or occasionally ‘Wild Wednesday’ would usually dominate proceedings for at least a week.AdvertisementAdvertisementThat, at least, has not changed. In an increasingly crowded sports entertainment market, TV companies will cling onto any semblance of rivalry or ‘beef’ in an effort to stand out from the crowd and draw more eyes.ADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityThey always have, and we would tolerate it for United vs Arsenal because it was a massive game. Now, the hype surrounding the fixture is no more deserved than when Sky schedule Bournemouth vs Norwich for 4pm on a Sunday and insist that you need to stop whatever you are doing to watch it.The seeds of this rivalry were sewn in the enmity between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.Ferguson had arrived at United with the express purpose of taking on the all-conquering Liverpool and ‘knocking them off their perch’. By the time Wenger strode into English football, the perch had been burned to the ground and United were dancing all over the ashes.The Frenchman brought with him a whole host of new ideas and new players, and frankly could not have been much more polar opposite to Ferguson, with his economics degree, his linguistic skills and his ideological football. It was old school vs new school, homegrown vs imported, fire and brimstone vs cunning and guile. Manchester United vs Arsenal is no rivalry – just two mediocre teams in need of a winlast_img read more

Expert view: ‘Di Maria is a complete footballer… Man United fans will love his effort’

first_imgGraham Hunter, the definitive voice on all matters involving Spanish football, discusses Angel di Maria’s impending move to Manchester United.United are set to smash the British transfer record to sign the 26-year-old Argentina international from Real Madrid.Hunter claims Di Maria has been pushed out of the door by Real, but feels he will relish life at Old Trafford and will be a huge hit with teammates and supporters.“He is a very complete footballer. You can automatically say Van Persie and Rooney, if not Mata, will score more goals,” he said, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“If you can use a player in two or three positions and he delivers just as much, you have got a very high level footballer.“He gives everything. United fans will love his effort even above his skill level, which is very high.”last_img read more

NorthEast United down Kerala Blasters in ISL opener

first_imgYusa Katsumi scored the opening goal of the 2016 edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) as NorthEast United beat Kerala Blasters 1-0 to start their campaign on a positive note here on Saturday evening.After a barren first session where NorthEast United dominated for long spells, Katsumi scored the all-important goal in the 54th minute.The match was preceded by a colourful opening ceremony that saw over 500 performers including John Abraham, Sachin Tendulkar, Abhishek Bachchan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Aalia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Ranbir Kapoor perform on the stage.Badminton star P.V. Sindhu, who took Silver in the women’s singles category at the Rio Olympics, was also present on the occasion.NorthEast United were determined to get a positive result from the opener and fielded an attacking line-up with Nicolas Velez, Holicharan Narzary and Emiliano Alfaro in their forward line.Kerala, on the other hand, were content in soaking up the pressure which they did well in the first 45 minutes but succumbed to NorthEast’s might in the second session.NorthEast United started the stronger of the two teams although there were hardly any chances in the opening minutes.The home side got their first look at goal in the 24th minute, thanks to a sloppy pass by Kerala goalkeeper Graham Stack which was almost capitalised upon by Nicolas Velez. The lazy kick fell to Romaric who struck from a distance but had no power to beat and embarrass the rival goalkeeper.A free-kick midway into the first session saw Velez out-jump his marker and head towards goal but Stack did well this time to stretch wide and keep out the danger.advertisementNorthEast were continuously attacking in the opening 45 minutes but had nothing to show as the strikers were found wanting. (Also read: ISL: Midfield-heavy North East United FC eye better show in Season 3)The hosts’ defence was relaxed for most part of the first half but centre-backs Mailson Alves and Gustavo Lazzaretti were needed to stay alert whenever the three-man strike force of Kerala Blasters worked their way on top.Two successive attempts in the 35th and 36th minutes were the closest they got but Antonio German’s shot from about 30 yards fell into the safe hands of goalkeeper Subrata Paul and Sandesh Jhingan could not direct his header towards goal.After near misses in the first half, NorthEast United finally tasted success early in the second session. It was Velez who made it happen after dancing down the left flank and essaying a cross which the Kerala defence missed and Katsumi was only too happy to speed forward and tap it into the goal.Kerala Blasters tried hard to find the equaliser and came close just after the hour mark.Jhingan’s attempted cross sailed unintentionally towards goal and Subrata Paul dived frenetically to keep the ball away from danger. From the resultant corner kick, Subrata left his charge needlessly, got stranded but German’s strike from close range missed the target by a whisker.last_img read more