We chatted to the actor about starring in the London premiere of Last Easter at the Orange Tree Theatre.
Could you tell me a bit more about Last Easter? Sure, Last Easter is a beautifully written play by Bryony Lavery, which explores the lives of four very good friends thrown even closer together by the realisation that one of them is going to die too soon, and despite their best efforts, nothing they can do will stop it. What is special about this play is that it uses cabaret, laughter, music and joy to counteract the inevitable devastation of their close knit circle. It’s really very moving and funny all in the same measure.
What made you want to be part of this production? It was a no brainer – I love Bryony as a writer, I also had never worked at the Orange Tree, and the character I play, “Gash”, has so much humour, heartache and drama – that I would have been mad not to have done it. I’m also so happy theatre is getting back on its feet after such a difficult and dark period and wanted to be part of that return.
Could you tell me more about the character you play? Gash is a contradictory character. On the one hand he appears to be very shallow and blasé, but on closer inspection he is deeply sensitive and uses humour and performance art to be able to deflect, digest and process tragedy. Something which I can definitely relate too. He is also a drag artist which we see snippets of – and that was something exciting and new to explore for me. I have the utmost respect for drag as an art form and its been great to finally find my drag feet. Even if it is through Gash’s eyes.
How have you found working on this production so far? It’s been fantastic. The other actors have been so generous and joyful, and we’ve really bonded as a foursome. Tinuke Craig, our director, has created this relaxed atmosphere of play, banter and uninhibited exploration, which for a piece like this is so important. We are already spoilt with the writing, but the ensemble feel of the show has made the whole experience already so special. I can’t wait to share it with the audiences at the Orange Tree.
How are you feeling about bringing Bryony Lavery’s play to the Orange Tree Theatre? It’s so exciting. This play has yet to be professionally produced in London – so it will be the official London premiere of this beautiful piece, which is crazy! I feel so happy to be part of it and after such a tumultuous year and a half I think this is the perfect play for a good laugh and a big cry actually. Life is so short, and we have to live it the best way we know how – and that’s what this play is really about: living!
Why should people come along to watch Last Easter? Last Easter is a funny, deeply moving, and entertaining play with a capital E, which will melt even the most cynical of souls, because it has so much heart. The music is beautiful (not just because I composed some of it!) but seriously it is a truly theatrical night at the theatre which after so long without – we all need in our lives right now. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it! Mwah 💋 .
By Emma Clarendon
Last Easter will play at the Orange Tree Theatre from the 3rd July until the 7th August.