Renowned actress Sarah Peirse, known for her impressive work in both theatre and film, is currently captivating audiences in the Auckland Theatre Company's thrilling production, "Switzerland." Robert & Jeanette from our Auckland breakfast show had the privilege of chatting with Sarah to discuss her career, the play, and working with Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey.
"Switzerland," a gripping production written by Joanna Murray Smith, offers theatregoers a chance to delve into the enigmatic world of Patricia Highsmith, the prolific author behind "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and the Ripley series. Sarah, who portrays Highsmith, described the play as "a good cat and mouse thriller" that provides insights into the author's intriguing life. This isn't her first encounter with the character of Patricia Highsmith. She previously played the role in Sydney and Melbourne productions. However, this time, the Auckland Theatre Company brings forth a "slimmed-down version" with a new cast member, Jarred Blakiston who people might remember from Shortland Street. Sarah emphasised her excitement at revisiting the character with the same creative team, stating that it's fascinating how a role can evolve and deepen over time.
Sarah Peirse's career boasts an impressive list of roles in some of New Zealand's most iconic film productions, including "Heavenly Creatures," "The Mortal Engines," and "The Hobbit." When asked if there was a particular role she's especially proud of, Sarah mentioned her portrayal of Honora Reaper in "Heavenly Creatures'' as a pivotal moment in her career. She also highlighted her role as Kate in "Rain," directed by Christine Jeffs, as another significant achievement. Sarah fondly recalled her experiences working with Hollywood A-listers Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Both actresses, who co-starred with Sarah in "Heavenly Creatures," have achieved remarkable success in the industry. Kate Winslet's career skyrocketed following the film, and Sarah noted that it was clear even then that she was destined for stardom. Melanie Lynskey, too, has enjoyed a diverse and fascinating career, earning critical acclaim for her performances.
When asked what keeps her anchored in New Zealand, Sarah emphasised her deep connection to this country. She acknowledged her family ties and expressed that New Zealand holds a special place in her heart. Her commitment to staying grounded and connected to her roots is evident as she continues to contribute to the local arts scene.
As Sarah Peirse brings the captivating "Switzerland" to the Auckland Theatre Company, audiences can anticipate an enthralling and thought-provoking performance.
Switzerland by Joanna Murray-Smith
19 September - 7 October at ASB Waterfront Theatre
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