Director Jonathan O’Boyle’s recent work includes Dear Brutus (Southwark Playhouse), Pippin (Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester and Southwark Playhouse), he spoke to LLLC about his upcoming production of Rasheeda Speaking…
Hi Jonathan, thank you so much for talking to Love London Love Culture. For those who aren’t familiar with the play could you explain a bit more about what Rasheeda Speaking is about? Rasheeda Speaking is a new American play by Joel Drake Johnson. It follows two receptionists in a Chicago hospital. Their consultant surgeon boss asks one to spy on the other to gather enough evidence so he can fire the other colleague. It’s a bold, dynamic and provocative play touching on racism in the workplace and the wider political landscape in America today.
How did you first come across the play? I was introduced to Rasheeda Speaking by the producer Ashley Cook. He was keen to produce the U.K. premiere of the play and asked me to read it. I instantly fell in love with the play and characters. That was about 18 months ago.
What did you initially think when you read it? I loved it! Joel writes brilliant dialogue. Plus it’s a cracking play with three fantastic female lead parts. I also loved the subject matter – its contemporary viewpoint of modern America and its examination of race and diversity.
What stood out most about Rasheeda Speaking that made you want to direct it? The two main characters. Jaclyn (Tanya Moodie) and Ileen (Elizabeth Berrington) are fantastic characters and I couldn’t wait to get into the rehearsal room to explore them with these two brilliant actors.
What can audiences expect from the production? Audiences can expect an entertaining, funny and provocative evening at the theatre. Trafalgar Studios 2 is such an intimate space, so they will be up close and personal with our brilliant cast – Tanya Moodie, Elizabeth Berrington, Sheila Reid and Bo Poraj.
What do you think audiences can learn from Rasheeda Speaking? We should never judge people. This may sound obvious, but the play examines our differing viewpoints of peoples’ lives and backgrounds. I hope people will see that we never truly know what is going on in someone else’s life. Kindness and compassion towards each other is fundamental.
Rasheeda Speaking will play at the Trafalgar Studios from the 18th April until the 12th May. To book tickets click here or visit ATG Tickets , Encore Tickets , Love Theatre.com , Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk or From the Box Office .