Meet Serin Ibrahim
Which characters do you play in the show? Tell us a bit about your favourite. Are they like you at all?
I play Kaa the snake, Akela the leader of the wolf pack, Raksha the mother wolf and a monkey. I think my favourite character, and the one I can relate to most, is Raksha as she cares for Mowgli and her pack, and family means a lot to her. She’s caring and will protect those who she cares about. I’m also really enjoying monkeying around!
Did you know the story before starting rehearsal?
No I didn’t. I was very familiar with the Disney version as I watched it lots as a little girl and then again a few times as an adult with my younger cousins. It was only when I was offered the job that I read this version and immediately loved it. The jungle feels much more real and it certainly has darker elements. My favourite part of our version is that instead of being a musical it has a djembe drum underscore, played by Kandaka Moore (who plays Tabaqui). The drums give the show a tribal feel and help create the atmosphere of the jungle.
If you were lost in the jungle, would you survive? Which animal would you make friends with?
I’d like to say yes... although maybe I could do with an intense survival training course first! I think I’d make friends with the monkeys as although they’re mischievous they could take me up high in the trees where it would be safe from a lot of the more dangerous animals, and I’d survive on fruit from the trees.
How are you preparing for the show? Is it very physical?
Yes, it’s very physical indeed! I was aware that we’d have some monkey bars to play with so took a couple of ariel lessons at Flying Fantastic - incredibly tough but so much fun and helped give me confidence being up high as I’m actually quite scared of heights!
Can you tell us a little bit about what you've done before? Have you ever had to play an animal?
I’ve been acting for seven years and began in children’s theatre so it’s great to be preparing to perform for young audiences again. In 2015 I launched my own award-winning theatre company – CultureClash Theatre – specialising in producing new plays that address social and political issues, primarily affecting women. Our most recent project was Voices In The Dark, a new writing night showcasing plays about gender, inequality and injustice. I’ve never had the chance to play an animal before, so I’m looking forward to making my animal debut!
What message do you take away from the story of The Jungle Book?
Oh there are so many! I think the main message I take from the story is about how important it is to find friendship and love with those who are different from you. Mowgli and the animals are different species, but they could equally be people of different ethnicities, genders and faiths. Mowgli survives, and the pack becomes stronger, because they learn to accept each other and use their differences in a positive way to help each other to learn and grow – something a lot of people in today’s society could learn from!