Q&A with Jazzara Jaslyn

We chat to Jazzara Jaslyn about her role in the play The White Whore and the Bit Player, showing soon at the Alexander Bar Theatre. Book your tickets here.

Q1: Tell us a bit about White Whore and the Bit Player?

Based on icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow, this dark comedy explores the tension between public adoration and private angst. An actress caught between the nun she imagined herself to be spiritually, and the whore the world saw her as. The play is set in a sanatorium. In the ten seconds between the act of suicide and the physical surrender of the body, her life flashes by.

Q2: How did you prepare for your character/s?

Lots of research. For the most part, when trying to channel the “Marilyn”, I started with her classic, iconic voice. This becomes her “public” voice, aware of an audience, which is then thwarted by her tormented self in the sanatorium. The “Whore” and the “Nun” represent the battle between her two identities.  My co-star, Donna Cormack-Thomson, plays the Whore and I the Nun, but, as this is essentially one woman, the two overlap.

Q3: What drew you to the project?

When I read the script I was immediately drawn to the off-beat, witty style of Tom Eyen’s writing. I found it hilarious, I was eager to perform comedy and to channel Marilyn. But, on closer inspection, I was drawn to the brilliant balance between the tragedy and comedy of the story. It is not a light-hearted tale, it is tragic. I think it’s that fine balance which constitutes a great dark comedy.

Q4: Why should people come to see the show?

I think the play is highly entertaining. Many people remember Marilyn Monroe as an iconic, beautiful actress – a sex symbol of the 50’s – but this play really delves into her tormented, fragile soul and the way in which the Studio molded her. Beyond the entertaining factor, there is a strong message which is still incredibly relevant today. I cannot put it more perfectly than Donna did:

“The play really highlights the objectification of women in the film industry…Actors are often desperate and at the mercy of those who can give them work, with very little agency as to what roles they play. The story also shows how warped the stories we are fed by the media often are…I hope the audience will walk away with a new perspective on the hardships of women in the industry, and a new skepticism about what the media tells us about our icons today.”


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