‘Carnival Row’ taps into Dickens' Victorian era to narrate an extraordinary love story of a lady and a puck
Agreus (David Gyasi) is a puck – half man and half goat – who walks with his head held high and dreams of a future unfathomable to most
René Echevarria and Travis Beacham’s ‘Carnival Row’ will premiere on Amazon Prime Video Friday, August 30. One of the most compelling aspects of the show is that within its unique magical setting, the show is reminiscent of the Victorian Era, as narrated in Charles Dickens’ works.
While the fight for freedom, citizenship and equality gain momentum in various parts of Burgue occupied by the magical fae, the more “civilized,” primarily human parts of the city is blissfully ignorant of it. We see these parts through the eyes of the Spurnrose siblings - Imogen (Tamzin Mechant) and Ezra (Andrew Gower) – who know what is “proper” but have no idea as to how to expand their wealth, though they do know they deserve it.
“There's a sense of entitlement for Imogen and definitely for Ezra that their father was important,” Mechant explained to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), adding how much the siblings lack the hardware that made their father who he was.
Mechant compares their fate to that of a Dickens novel, in how these two who are “sort of leftover from the man who actually did some good work with his life and was well-respected for what he did. They're left with his money and his legacy and they take it for granted.” When we meet them, they have nothing to offer to the world. “They're just trying to get more money from the money that they have that wasn't theirs, that they didn't earn... it has been inherited.”
Next up, Ezra Spurnrose, played by Andrew Gower (Outlander). As a noted watchmaker, Ezra’s late father left a proud legacy, which now slips through his son’s maladroit fingers, driving Ezra into the cutthroat business of ferrying fae workers across the Main. #CarnivalRow pic.twitter.com/aVvp8Tn2xe— Travis Beacham (@travisbeacham) August 14, 2019
Gower agrees, further elaborating on how they are stuck in purgatory, in that have the money, but they don't have any real-world talent. “I think Ezra will never be as successful as his father… and he's trying to install some self-respecting gratification of power from controlling his sister, their money and even, in his treatment of the fae,” he opined.
However, challenging this worldview of “Humans will not socialize with creatures,” a fae comes to live in their all-human neighborhood. Agreus (David Gyasi) is a Puck – half man and half goat – who walks with his head held high and dreams of a future unfathomable to most.
“It's hugely empowering to play that role,” Gyasi told MEAWW, adding how from the moment he donned the hooves and legs, he felt encouraged to walk with power. “If you apply that to the nuance of what's going on it becomes a really useful, powerful tool in being able to walk head held high, even when the rest of society, assume that he should not be living in the area he is, dressing in the clothes he does, having the money that he does.”
Over the course of the series, we see he is focused and not easily distracted; distract him is what Imogen does. Sweet and innocent Imogen, as Mechant puts it, did not know just how much she wanted to escape the life she was living.
“She's looking for a way to be important and to not be bored and frustrated by life… She wants to live where she lives, but just have more money and importance and security,” explained Mechant, adding how when Agreus comes into her life, “she is following a wild need for something more.”
“You can think you've got everything and then you meet someone, or you just saw the something that just, that wakes you out of how you think you want to live,” said Mechant, as Gower chimed in, “You can be constructive or destructive with it.” Imogen, as we see, is constructive with it, making the audience happy, but Ezra, infuriated.
“Fundamentally, I think he is such a traditionalist that I don't think he ever does quite come around. I don't think he comes around to his sister being the decision-maker,” revealed Gower, adding how the beauty of Beacham’s work is that he created a Victorian-esque society, in which you automatically assume women are treated as second-class citizens, but Imogen will never be that.
Gower further elaborated, “He likes to think he's in control. He is probably one of the most ignorant characters I've ever played, maybe will play, but the beauty of ignorance is there's always the revelation with those characters when something happens and when the truths hit home."
If you haven’t already, go on and binge-watch season 1 of ‘Carnival Row’ on Amazon Prime Video.