Throwback Thursday: Pérola Congo

Sarah Day spoke to Pérola Congo who is appearing in Curve’s The Color Purple at Home which is streaming online now.

Perola Congo
Perola Congo as Squeak

What was your first ever show that you did as a kid, and what was it that got you into the theatre world?

My first ever show was a school production of Bugsy Malone in Year 8, but it was after I played Rizzo in Year 9 when I was like “ooo I could really do this!”

My drama teacher (shout out to Ms Langdon) told me about me BRIT School and she kindly helped me with all my audition material. That’s where it all began for me, really. I’d never owned a pair of ballet shoes before going there – didn’t know what I was meant to do with the stringy elastic bits!

Perola Congo
As Bet in Oliver at Grange Park Opera

Congratulations on being part of ‘The Color Purple’ at the Leicester Curve. Tell us about your audition process and how it was working in the middle of a pandemic.

Thank you! Luckily there wasn’t an audition as we’d done the production in 2019 and we were invited back! Honestly, it came as a saving grace during a difficult time for me and it was a true blessing to be with this cast and creative team doing this show about a black woman’s experience.

Read’s review here

Why is theatre important to you?

For it’s a place where I found family, a place full of grit, a place to be challenged, a place to learn, a place to play, and a place that I fought hard to occupy space in.

Perola Congo
Nancy aged 15

What is your process when you get into character for a show?

This process was fun because it felt like I was coming back to an old friend playing Squeak the second time round. I was more confident and was excited to get into the rehearsal room and try some different things out! Finding her high-pitched voice and her walk again was my way in, and once I put the wig and costume on, I was like “There she is!”

How have you been keeping creative during lockdown?

I’ve been doing a lot of drawing and painting, songwriting and singing, and having impromptu improv dance sessions in the bedroom in the early hours – just for the fun of it!

Tell us about one of your best/funniest memories on stage?

A funny moment was in Addams Family my dance partner was Scott Paige, who covered Fester. Scott has a beautiful head of hair but had to sport a bald cap whenever he was on as Fester. I think he may have been trialing the bald cap during a show when he was as an Ancestor, and he joked that his head looked like an egg. During the tango, this fierce and sensual number, we kept saying different types of eggs to each other with gusto and intensity!

What three things can we always find in your dressing room? I.e Lucky charms…things that help you on stage…blue m&ms..

Snacks – houmous, crackers and grapes are go-tos for me, toothbrush and toothpaste, and deodorant!

If your life were a show what would it be called, and why?

Natural, Infinite, Yes.

What advice would you give to all the new graduates?

Be kind to yourself – you are graduating in the craziest of times!

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