The actor chatted to Emma Clarendon about starring in My One True Friend at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

(c)Mark Senior.

Hi Joseph, could you explain more about what ‘My One True Friend’ is about? The play predominantly focuses on a white colonial family in Rhodesia in the 1970s. On the back drop is an apartheid like regime and the dangers of political and civil unrest. It’s a complex play but in short i’d say its a unique and interesting exploration of family, race and loyalty.

What were your first impressions of the play when you first read it? That it was nothing like anything I’d read before. It was wacky, philosophical, frustrating and tender all at once.

Was there anything in particular that made you want to be involved with this production?  I really liked the character I play. He is passionate and opinionated and really stands up for the things he believes in. The play and the character are so far removed from my reality, it’s exciting. I like to get involved in productions that educate and inform me about certain things, particularly history.

How have rehearsals been going so far? Rehearsals are going great. There are lots of important and necessary conversations taking place in order to bring the world of the play alive. There is a lot of intelligence and talent in the room, its great to be surrounded by that.

With prejudice and inequality still so much part of society now – do you think that ‘My One True Friend’ will help to open up conversations surrounding prejudice? I think it definitely will. I think it would be wrong to make generalisations on prejudice as whole as this play looks at a very particular type of racism but it will certainly spark questions on racial injustice and the complexities of prejudice.

What do you think that audiences will take away from the play? I think the audience will have many questions. There’s scope to have differing responses to the play and choices/actions of central characters. Things may feel unresolved, which is great – It’s good to keep the conversation going.

What can we expect from the production?  We have really great creatives involved so the set and design are going to look great. Original music/sound is currently being composed for the show which we are excited about. I think you can expect some lovely performances. The Tristan Bates is an intimate space so the audience can expect to feel like a fly on the wall of domestic Salisbury, Rhodesia circa 1976.

By Emma Clarendon

My One True Friend will play at the Tristan Bates Theatre from the 21st August until the 14th September.