From BBC’s Casualty to the Casualty of War – The Palace Star Daphne Alexander talks to Darren Cheers

Posted on Sunday, 22nd January 2012 @ 12:24 PM by Text Size A | A | A

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Sitting in the lobby of West London hotel I awaited the meeting with Daphne Alexander, one of the stars of the award winning short movie The Palace.  Without making this sound too much like a film review I was amazed how this short movie depicted the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus with such a complexity of layers and characterisations.  Based on true events, Daphne, who herself is a Greek Cypriot, was inexplicably drawn to the part of a young mother facing the ultimate fear.  It is evident that this part is close to Daphne`s heart from the enthused passion she possess for this movie.

“I am very proud of this movie!” she tells me, not just because of her connections to the subject matter, not just because of its horrifyingly realistic depictions of true events, but because this was emotionally the most challenging and demanding role to date for this gifted actress.

What is most impressive from her portrayal of a young mother desperately harbouring her baby from their near certain death behind the slats of a cupboard door, is her ability to express an array of emotions without uttering a single word.  It is only the Turkish soldiers that have verbalised roles.  And through their lines of language, the film questions orthodox values of religion and political ideologies.  When one of the soldiers refuses to drink alcohol, denouncing it as contrary to his religious rights: “Alcohol, our religion forbids it.”  But on the same hand, his religion doesn’t forbid him from slaughtering a defenceless family.  After the so called “donkey” brained soldier kills the parents of this family, he says to his superior office:  “I have that memory forever!”

The ruthless superior officer disclaims:  “this is where art ends and real life begins.”   Everyone, the remaining family shielded behind the shadowy slats, the junior officers, and the audience, is now exposed to a horrifying reality, one of unwavering mercilessness, and jaw dropping revelations.  But when all seems to be lost, and humanity has reached its lowest echelon, there is a glimmer of humility, when the “Donkey brain” soldier opens the cupboard doors to expose Daphne clutching her baby.   But not for an instant do we fear that he will report or worse kill her, we know he will close the doors and in doing so close this story.

Immediately from graduating from drama school Daphne got the part on  BBC`s Casualty playing a Greek nurse Nardia.  Being on one of Britain`s top rated shows for a year gave her invaluable experience.  But after leaving the show she found herself without regular work for over 6 months, which felt “very strange” after the constant demands of a weekly drama.    But, as it is so necessary for all actors to survive, she kept positive and fate definitely intervened.   In “Ghost Writer” she plays a legal intern, which catapults Daphne back to her past when she studied Law, and then decided that law wasn’t for her.  It was her grandmother who would take her to see theatre productions, and the infectious acting bug bit.

Based in London she “met the director of The Palace completely serendipitously here in London” since he was from Adelaide and met her through friends and “hit it off and saw my work and he offered me the script”

Because The Palace is “doing delightfully well on the festival circuit,” Daphne now has aspirations to work in the states.  After already filming in Tunisia, Daphne loves to travel, and wants to go where her work will allow her to.  From what I have seen from her work thus far, I can see her travelling far and wide.

by Darren Cheers



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