Lyric life

10 Questions with…Shanaya Rafaat

We caught up with Shanaya Rafaat from the Terror cast for 10 questions...

A hijacked plane is heading towards a packed football stadium. Ignoring orders to the contrary Lars Koch, a fighter pilot, shoots down the plane killing 164 people on board.

Charged with murder, the fate of the pilot is now in your hands. The verdict of the trial is decided each night by the audience.

Enter the courtroom. Hear the evidence. Make your judgement.

Guilty. Not Guilty. You Decide.

What’s your name and what role do you play?

My name is Shanaya and I play Franziska Meiser who is the wife of one of the passengers who was on the plane.

What first struck you after first reading this play?

That I had changed my mind regarding the pilot’s guilt a couple of times during the first reading! I found both the arguments for and against compelling.

Does your character support the view you hold personally in the trial?

No. She is coming from a very personal place of bereavement for a loved one. It colours her opinion! Though I think if I were in her place, I would feel the same.

Does that make it easier or harder to play the role?

I don’t think it makes it harder. I understand her point of view and her grief and I try to bring that to life when I play her.

Have you changed your mind whether he is guilty or not guilty throughout the rehearsal process?

I change my mind continuously. It’s a hard decision to make.

What’s your favourite courtroom drama/documentary? 

My most recent favourite is The People vs. O.J. Simpson: An American Crime Story. It’s a very closely examined, sometimes damning, account of the adversarial system, specifically how lawyers manipulate public perception.

Plus, the performances were layered and fantastic!

What do you think it is about courtroom dramas that interest people?

I think a good courtroom drama presents strong arguments on both sides and forces the audience to really think about where they stand on certain issues.

If you could be on the jury in any historical case, what case would you have liked to have been on?

I supposed an environmental lawsuit like the one featured in Erin Brockovich i.e. the case against Pacific Gas and Electric Company who were accused of polluting the drinking water supply in the town of Hinckley, California.

I suppose it must be satisfying to be a part of a judicial process that holds a large, rich company accountable for its destructive practices.

Why should an audience come to see Terror

There are no clear good or bad guys in our play. You really have to dig deep as an audience member and decide where you stand. It’s an extremely compelling thought provoking piece.

And finally, what do you love most about performing? 

Embodying a character – preferably one that is further away from me so it requires me to make a greater imaginative leap.

Thanks Shanaya. Break a leg in Terror!