But she’s also warm and bracingly intelligent company, not afraid to speak up for things she cares about.She challenges herself constantly – not just in her own work choices but also the responsibilities that come with them.While Garai says she's political, she also says she doesn't want to use her profile for political purposes.Yet, for all her chattiness, it's easy to imagine an older Garai writing fiercely political films or else taking on Susan Sarandon's actor-activist mantle.Romola Garai says her latest West End play, about the friendship between Queen Anne and a duchess, is a big step forward for equality.The actress is one of two female leads in Helen Edmundson’s Queen Anne at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Garai, of Jewish-Hungarian stock, lost most of her recent forebears in the Holocaust – there are no known family ties left in Eastern Europe – so it is unsurprising that she shares her director's passion that this lesson not be forgotten.
Garai plays Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, the title character’s oldest and closest childhood friend, originally played by Natascha Mc Elhone.
“She was not available because she does a TV show [Designated Survivor] in America, so they sent me the script quite a long time ago,” says Garai, speaking in the RSC’s Clapham studios as rehearsals continue downstairs.
"Stephen is a Russian Jew, and this film is a sort of a comment on the Holocaust through visual metaphors.
I was able to connect with his passion." The anxiety of Garai's character as the story progresses is unsettling.