Jenna Coleman and Aidan Turner appeared on This Morning (January 27) to talk all things Lemons, Lemons, Lemons! Photos have been added to our gallery, enjoy!
Having starred in some of Britain’s biggest TV shows, the pair are taking to the stage for Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, a minimalist two-hander where words are strictly rationed. And they can’t stop talking about it
This is it,” Aidan Turner says, swooping his hand across the large and largely empty rehearsal room. “No props, no furniture. Nothing to hide behind.” Sliding into a seat across the table from him, Jenna Coleman replies mischievously: “Unless I hide behind you.”
The pair are soon to perform in Sam Steiner’s tender two-hander, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, a play that has worked its way up from the fringe to the West End. “The main thing I’ve heard about the original,” Coleman says conspiratorially, leaning forwards on her elbows, “was that they had great chemistry.”
“Ah,” Turner sighs, hands thrown in the air, grin wide across his face, “so we’re doomed.”
Lemons is a kaleidoscopic exploration of a relationship. Oliver and Bernadette are a musician and a lawyer who meet in a London pet cemetery and tumble easily in love. “They have really different energies,” Coleman says. “Oliver’s poetic and passionate, and she’s more pragmatic and measured.” The relationship becomes strained when a new piece of legislation is introduced. Known as the “hush law”, it decrees that everyone in the country is limited to speaking 140 words a day. Once you’ve used up your allowance, you physically can’t say any more.
The law radically changes the way Oliver and Bernadette live and communicate, and fissures in their relationship start to show. They come home each day with a different number of words saved for each other. “One hundred three,” Oliver offers, after having stored them all up for her. “Seven,” Bernadette says, not having done the same. Their dialogue becomes increasingly fractured as they try to squeeze everything they want to say into as few words as possible, and rely on gesture, even an attempt at learning morse code.
Three weeks into rehearsals, the laughter between the two actors is quick and easy. More familiar with larger casts, Turner describes the experience as a uniquely “intimate creative endeavour”. Having cut his teeth at Dublin’s Abbey theatre, he rose to fame as the much fawned-over Cornish protagonist in Poldark, and recently appeared as a chilling clinical psychologist in ITV’s grisly thriller The Suspect. Starting out with scene-stealing roles in Emmerdale, Coleman later played Clara, beloved companion to Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s iterations of the Doctor in Doctor Who. She most recently played an occult explorer in Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy The Sandman. They are two of Britain and Ireland’s biggest TV stars of the past decade, but joking around in the rehearsal room, they seem like old friends, entirely void of the uptightness of fame.
A lighter story compared with their most recent TV appearances, Lemons marks the first time the two have performed together, although they had encountered each other a handful of times before. “My grandma met you at Wimbledon,” Coleman reminds Turner. “We got sat together for sandwiches between sets. My grandma was like: ‘Look at his hair!’ I think she went to touch it.” Coleman slaps an imaginary wrist away. “‘You can’t touch Aidan’s hair!’” They appear relaxed and comfortable, chatting breezily before we dive into any actual questions. When Coleman lists the reasons why she said yes to taking the part, she finishes with, “ … and Aidan”. He nods smugly and she rolls her eyes.
It’s so interesting what this does to your physicality. Without freedom of expression, it changes a bit of who you are
Directed by Josie Rourke, the former artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse and director of the Bafta and Oscar-nominated Mary Queen of Scots, Lemons will run at the Harold Pinter theatre before going to Manchester and Brighton. The production will be sparse and simple: just the two actors and their limited word count. “When you read a script now,” says Turner, “it’s so easy for your first thought to be: ‘This would be a great six-parter on Netflix.’ You’re already trying to evolve it. But when I read Lemons, I knew this was fundamentally theatre. That’s what it exists for.”
Coleman describes Lemons as a sudoku of a play; she was drawn to the challenge of trying to solve it. Jumping back and forth in time, before and after the hush law, Lemons is made up of 102 different fragments. “This is our ellipsis,” Coleman says, leaning over the back of her chair to point to a large oval of dozens of coloured cards on the floor, the only indication in the room of any kind of stage. “This is how we began.”
The cards are arranged in a rainbow ring, scrawled with numbers and words. “These are the scenes unfolded in chronological order,” she explains. They’ve colour-coded them so that the tones correspond to the health of Oliver and Bernadette’s relationship. “Lovely lilac is dating, blossoming blue is their beginning.” Coleman points further round the ring. “That’s yikes yellow.” What about the stickers? “It’s when things are present,” she says, “or when we’re choosing to not talk about something.” Namely, Oliver’s ex and the question of babies. “You’re having a conversation but really the scene is about something else.” While the political ramifications of the hush law are unique, much of the way it affects their lives may feel familiar. “It’s so reflective of so many people’s relationships,” Coleman says.
The show, which Coleman describes as “full of humanity and love”, began its life as a collaboration between students and alumni of the University of Warwick. After becoming the talk of 2015’s National Student drama festival, and selling out at three consecutive Edinburgh fringes, the script has gone on to be studied on postgraduate courses and performed in more than a dozen languages around the world.
“I just love their relationship,” Turner says, “and it still really makes me laugh.”
Coleman shakes her head. “There’s a falafel joke that gets Aidan every time.”
Through the lens of Oliver and Bernadette’s partnership, Lemons considers the worth of every word. “We’ve done exercises where we count the words as we say them,” Coleman says, “and it’s so interesting what it does to your physicality. Without freedom of expression, it changes a bit of who you are.”
With Rourke, they’ve played around with the idea of spending your words as if each one is a coin, and holding an armful of props that you drop with every word, so that you feel the impact of each one disappearing. “When you’re literally holding the thing as it diminishes,” Turner says, “it makes you value language in a different way.”
Raising questions of censorship and privilege, the script feels prescient. “It has a slightly dystopian feel that mirrors the lockdown period,” Turner says.
“Both make you ask similar questions,” Coleman suggests. “‘Are we in this suspense for ever? Is this the world now?’” In the play, the couple hold off certain topics of conversation – again, Oliver’s ex and the question of babies – to when they expect the hush law to be lifted, gradually realising that it might never be removed. Running alongside the politics is the uncertainty of whether their relationship will survive long enough to see the end result.
Over the course of the play, the couple develop a private language – “a shorthand”, Coleman says – and this is something the two actors have developed quickly in the intensity of the rehearsal room.
“You do catch yourself thinking: ‘If anyone overheard what we’re talking about,’” Turner laughs, “‘it would sound ridiculous.’” They’ll often speak in half words and gestures, and immediately get what the other means. “The more relationships develop, the more you just feel from somebody’s tone of voice what they need,” Turner says. “It’s not always about how much you need to talk or the words that come out. You become more in tune with each other.”
As two of the most sought-after performers around, they have their pick of future projects. But neither seems to take that for granted. “Do you know what you’re doing?” Coleman asks Turner. “I don’t know what I’m doing!” He shakes his head emphatically. “I think that’s why we’re sitting here, doing a play called Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons. It’s scary and challenging and terrifying, but when it’s great, it feels brilliant.” He beams, bright and earnest. “I don’t think I ever want to get to the position where I feel like I know what I’m doing. If you do, I think, as a creative person, you’re in trouble. You want to keep feeling scared.”
Towards the end of the play, Steiner writes a scene that allows the actors a moment of wild relief. Amid growing tension, a whole day’s words are gleefully thrown away with a song. The intention is for each production to choose a different song, so what’s it to be? “No way!” shouts Turner, waving his arms excitedly. “No way am I telling!” They spent an entire day auditioning songs, Coleman reveals, like an extremely intense round of karaoke.
“I have a very limited vocal range,” Turner admits, “but Jenna’s got a great voice. If the range is here” – he stretches out his arms – “I can do this bit.” His hands come in, a few centimetres apart. “The idea behind the song is that they haven’t sung out loud in so long, so they just enjoy shouting and screaming for a minute before they run out. We need to find the right tone for that.”
Coleman nods sagely, and pauses for a moment: “It’s Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat.” She grins.
“Damn it,” yells Turner. Coleman starts humming “red and yellow and green” at him, before they both give up on words and surrender to infectious laughter.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is at the Harold Pinter theatre, London, to 18 March; Manchester Opera House, 21 to 25 March; and Theatre Royal, Brighton, 28 March to 1 April.
Ahead of the West End premiere of Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, take a look at stars Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman in rehearsal photos. The play runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 18 January to 18 March.
The Lemons play explores the importance of our words, after a Quietude bill forces a lawyer and a musician to speak a maximum of 140 words a day. Josie Rourke directs Sam Steiner’s debut play.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is at the Harold Pinter Theatre.
Book Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons tickets on London Theatre.
Numero Magazine-Spotted in the mythical Doctor Who series , the English actress Jenna Coleman also impresses alongside Tahar Rahim in The Serpent in 2021. This year, we find her on Netflix in the fantastic series Sandman , adapted from the eponymous graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. A role worthy of his magnetic talent.
From her captivating role in The Serpent to her magnetic performance in Sandman
More than any other country, the United Kingdom holds the secret of the excellence of the actors and actresses. Year-round, the screens of the world testify to this, to the point that Hollywood is full of Britons who force the American accent to reign over series and blockbusters. Jenna Coleman is part of this wave, while often remaining elusive. This year, she played an occult detective in the prestigious fantasy series Sandman , a creation by legend Neil Gaiman for Netflix . One of these new kind of cultural objects, watched simultaneously all over the planet.
During the year 2021, in full confinement, the thirties interpreted the Quebecer Marie-Andrée Leclerc, accomplice of a serial killer played by Tahar Rahim , in The Serpent , one of the hits of this strange spring. “ He was a tortured and romantic person, whom we worked on in detail. Even in the way she dressed, she concealed her true nature. ” With this role, Jenna Coleman made herself known far beyond her native country, in a fictional form that was both seductive and voracious. She also discovers a tendency to play tormented women. “ I have struggled for a long time with the roles of girl-next-door and nice good friend,she explains as a profession of faith. Finally, I play angry women who swear a lot! I seem to be leaning towards the dark lately [laughs].”
The young woman in front of us would rather find herself on the side of the light, even if the life she has chosen pushes her towards the limits of fatigue, by dint of braving the time zones of globalized entertainment . “ I was filming in Arizona, and a few days later, here I am in Paris for the Chanel show. At the moment, my daily life looks like this. Sometimes it happens to me to ask myself, but I like the uncertainty, the change and the journeys that my job entails, this idea that we don’t know where we will live the following week. I think it makes me happy. I’m one of those weird people who love airports and constant movement.” This existence in the spotlight, Jenna Coleman has known it since the mid-2000s. She was 19 when the producers of the Emmerdale soap offered her the role of Jasmine Thomas, who was to appear on screen for a few weeks but whose presence spanned four years. The time to perfect his art in a popular medium, very respected in England.
Unlike many actors in the UK, she did not attend a major drama school like London’s RADA or LAMDA. No regrets for the one who began by pacing the boards during her adolescence, in pieces created by a local company in Blackpool, her hometown in north-east England. “ When I finally had the time to do major studies, it was already a bit late. I gave up because I would have missed this period of the beginnings of the twenties, fruitful for an actress. So I learned on the job, with actors and directors with different methods. Basically, that suits me: I like to react to the other. ”
“ I find out about the era and the characters, I build a story by noting down many details, the better to get rid of them when shooting . Jenna Coleman
When we observe her acting, both seductive and precise, we can only say that the multiplicity of approaches has forged an excellent actress, who never gets lost in a cold and technical vision of her roles. She evokes the impostor syndrome that may have accompanied her, as during these rehearsals at the Old Vic theater in London in 2019, when she felt a lack of technique which could handicap her. Except that the complex never lasts very long, as Jenna Coleman seizes the roles, works on them, mixes them up to make them her own.
Her favorite moment? The preparation phase, where she is totally involved, especially when she interprets a historical character like Queen Victoria in the homonymous series, between 2016 and 2019. “ I find out about the era and the characters, I build a story by noting many details, the better to get rid of them when shooting. So I am impregnated, but I feel free to go where I want. Without this preliminary work, I would not have my base and I would feel too close to myself. ” We stop for a moment on the last formula, which intrigues coming from an actress. Master Eckhart did write in his famous sermons the following formula, as obscure as it is fascinating: “Observe yourself, and whenever you find yourself, let yourself; There is nothing better. “It is unclear whether the Briton has read the German medieval thinker, but his conception of the game resembles his teaching.
Jenna Coleman, a talented actress revealed by Doctor Who
Self-forgetfulness as a key to success, Jenna Coleman talks about it very well. “ The less cerebral I am, the better my game. The effort I have to make is to manage to get out of my head, to abandon my perfectionist side and let myself be led by instinct. This is when this job becomes really exciting. You have the feeling of jumping off a cliff without controlling anything. These moments don’t happen all the time, but they are exactly what we are looking for in this profession. ” Such a method, the actress applies it through all her appearances, whether in her new independent film Klokkenluider, a comedy about whistleblowers, or the series that made her a star, the legendaryDoctor Who. In the mid-2010s, she emerged as the most alert and slender actress of her generation, with showrunner Steven Moffat raving about her ability to say lines both really fast and really well.
A quality reminiscent of that of the greats of screwball comedy, whose golden age was the 1930s. A genre that contemporary cinema seems to have unfortunately neglected. “ It would be great to remake some of these comedies like Bringing Up Baby , one of my favorite movies. Regarding Steven Moffat, the screenwriter of Doctor Who, his writing is very rhythmic, and since I drink a lot of coffee, it helps with the speed! Comedy is often based on this, especially black comedy, which I really like. ”
Jenna Coleman admires films as different as 37°2 in the morning, The Harvest of the Sky and Breaking the Waves. Was it born a few decades too late to feel in step with the contemporary image industry, which is often highly formatted? The lament is not really part of his vocabulary. She intends to grow what is offered to her, such as the Wilderness series, which she has just shot for Amazon in the four corners of the American continent, under the direction of So Yong Kim. “ Four months of very long days, but it was exciting! ” confirms this friend of the Chanel house. “ Last night I had the pleasure of visiting Coco ‘s apartment, and , in this place, we can measure how sincere and deep the attachment of this house to culture. Chanel pays great attention to the people we are. She is genuinely interested in what we have to say as actors, and in our work. She is not just trying to dress me, but to identify what woman I am. The Chanel universe has a lot of personality, I always find something strong and fragile, feminine and masculine. Thanks to this, one has the feeling that the pieces never get old. ”
Jenna attended Lis Kingsman’s One Woman Show Opening Night last night! Debuting her Blonde hair for the first time! Photos have been added to our gallery, enjoy!
Jenna attended the British Independent Film Awards 2022 I have added all photos from the event to our gallery, enjoy!
December 04: British Independent Film Awards 2022 – Winners
December 04: British Independent Film Awards 2022 – Show
December 04: British Independent Film Awards 2022 – Cocktails
Session 009: British Independent Film Awards 202