Interview: Misha Butler

The Amber Trap is currently running at Theatre 503 and centres around the story of Katy and her girlfriend Hope who work in the local corner shop. Misha Butler plays Michael, who arrives also to work at the corner shop and causes tensions to rise. LGBTQ Arts’ Amie Taylor caught up with Misha via a Q and A.

AT. Tell us a little about your journey into becoming an actor…

MB: I really fell into acting as a career, to be honest. I desperately wanted to do it from a very young age but I never really saw it as a potential for me as a young trans guy. Unlike now, there didn’t seem to be any people like me on screen or stage. I half-heartedly signed up to the TransActing course run by Gendered Intelligence and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, not expecting much more than a few classes and a few new friends, and through it I got an audition for BBC Casualty and through that I got an agent. It was all a bit of a whirlwind!

AT: You’re currently rehearsing for The Amber Trap, can you tell us a little about this piece and it’s themes?

MB: The Amber Trap explores a wide range of themes that I think different people will respond differently to. For me, the play focuses on relationships, and the societal gendered expectations that go with them, as well as themes like family (in varied forms), love and identity.

AT: Why is it an important project for you?

MB: I’ve just fallen in love with the complexity of all the characters involved because they have such rich personalities that I think it makes the story itself fascinating.

AT: And why do you think this piece is important for 2019?

MB: I think that the fact that the show centres around the complex and authentic relationship between two women but also manages to make that not the primary element really shows how queer theatre should be written. Their relationship isn’t incidental to the plot, the difficulties of being in a queer relationship that persist in 2019 haven’t been overlooked, but Katie and Hope have such rich identities outside of being in love with each other. That’s what I think many of these sorts of stories lack and it is refreshing to see it.

AT: What do you think audiences will take away from watching this piece?

MB: I honestly can’t say! I think there are so many different elements that will affect each person quite differently. I do think it will provoke strong empathy and emotion for the characters but also ethical discussion.

AT: What have been the highlights of the rehearsal process?

MB: I don’t think I can pick a specific moment! The whole process so far has been so exciting and fascinating, and all the team are so incredibly lovely, supportive and enthusiastic about the show.

AT: Have there been any challenges?

MB: The biggest challenge for me has been switching off when going home after rehearsals. It’s such an emotionally charged piece that I find myself carrying some of that with me and have had to work to leave it in the room.

AT: How do you feel this piece sits within the landscape of LGBT+ Theatre? (Ie is it telling us a story we haven’t heard before? Or representing a voice lesser heard?)

MB: I feel that the representation of lesbian relationships on stage is lacking compared to gay male storylines, which makes The Amber Trap all the more important. It really is quite a unique play in terms of its storyline and content.

The Amber Trap runs at Theatre 503, London until 18th May. Book Now.

Misha Butler

Photo © Olivia-Rose Smith


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