Adi Tantimedh writes…
Tumanbay, BBC Radio 4's epic 10-part historical thriller heads towards its final stretch with the 8th episode this week.
Here we have mini-interviews with Olivia Popica, who plays Heaven, the daughter of a trader who has been taken hostage by the nameless Slave from a plague-ridden ship as he makes his way towards Tumanbay on his mission of revenge, and Nina Yndis, who plays the blue-eyed slave Sarah, recruited by the royal spymater Gregor to be his informant on the queen in the palace as he searches for traitors threatening to bring down the empire.
OP: I'm Olivia Popica. I am playing Heaven. She's a teenage girl. She comes from a rich family, so she is quite spoilt. She is at that age where she is trying to become more mature and eager to become an adult, but she is also still quite childish and vulnerable. She is quite ahead of her time. Quite feisty. She is becoming a women that knows exactly what she wants. We follow her from being a girl to being a women, which is very interesting. She is very curious and she has a slight fascination for slaves. She admires them which is strange for a women at the time.
Tumanbay is this place that everyone talks about and where everyone wants to go. It's the epicentre of the world. People from all sorts of backgrounds, from all corners of the world – so you will hear a lot of different accents and interesting people which gives colour to this piece. It says that everyone starts as a slaves and many rise up to become Kings. It is set in the desert. This huge, luxurious, amazing place, set in the middle of no where. It's a promised land.
For me radio is a very interesting medium of telling a story by only using sound. Like reading, it empowers your imagination. You, as a listener you have the chance to imagine the world you hear. Just this sound clue that sparks your imagination and the rest is up to you. So I guess that there won't be two identical Tumanbays, which his exactly what we want.
NY: My name is Nina Yndis, I am playing Sarah. The mysterious slave girl who comes to Tumanbay with her brother from far up North. The world of Tumanbay is very much like a fantastical, made up great City. I would say it's the equivalent to London and New York today. People from all over the world coming to fulfil their dreams. I've got a feeling from reading the scripts – that Tumanbay is quite a warm, sweaty, moving City, with a Port. Lots of boats coming in with new slaves arriving. It's run by slaves, it's ruled by slaves. There are endless opportunities for people. A land full of dreams and opportunities.
What I find interesting in the writing and my character is that she develops into something that you didn't expect from her. Big changes in character is really fun for an actor to play with.
In the company of women at firstname.lastname@example.org
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