Actress Tells Court She Was On 'High Alert' Around Rush
Eryn-Jean Norvill told the court she felt 'belittled and shamed'.
Norvill says she felt trapped as she lay on stage with Geoffrey Rush touching her breast and frightened backstage during another performance when he slipped his hand under her shirt and traced along her lower back.
Rush denies any wrong doing and is suing the publisher of the Daily Telegraph over two articles and a newsagent poster he says made him look like a “pervert” and a “predator.”
Norvill who was his co-star in a Sydney Theatre Company Production of King Lear says she was too scared to say anything because she feared if she did – her career would be over.
“I was at the bottom of the rung in terms of hierarchy and Geoffrey was definitely at the top. I have to be honest his power was intimidating… I wanted to part of his world.”
She says she tried to speak out about the Oscar winner’s inappropriate behaviour but didn’t get anywhere.
“Everyone else didn’t seem to have a problem about it, I was looking at a room that was complicit. My director didn’t seem to have a problem with it. I felt quashed in my ability to find allies.”
Norvill detailed an incident during a preview performance in late 2015 that she says lasted about 10 seconds.
“I remember Geoffrey placed his hand on my face and then his other hand touched under my armpit… and stroked down my across my right, side of my right breast and onto my hip.”
“The touch was different to what I’d experienced previously it was slow and light and pressured across my breast and that’s why I thought it was deliberate.”
"It couldn’t have been an accident because it was slow.” she told the court.
She says playing a dead body at that point she felt “trapped” because the audience was watching and she had nowhere to go.
Norvill also told the court about another incident she says occurred in the final week of the production back stage. She says Rush traced his hand along her back before slipping it under her shirt and running it along her bare lower back.
“I felt threatened. Panicked, I, um, yes I think that my panic levels shot up and I felt unsafe and probably sad.”
She says she often confined herself to her dressing room or an office to get away during performances.
“I just decided to buck up and get through.”