Emma Clarendon chatted to Connor about starring in Rachel Garnet’s Starcrossed at Wilton’s Music Hall.

(c)Michael Cinquino

Can you explain for those who don’t know what Starcrossed is about? Love. Life. Living. ‘Starcrossed’ explores the untold story of Tybalt and Mercutio, in the world of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. Running parallel to the original text, ‘Starcrossed’ explores forbidden love, connection, longing and tragedy, whilst intertwining with Shakespearean dialogue. It speaks to those that have felt conflicted in their lives. In this world we know so well, new life and excitement is breathed into these brilliant characters.  

The concept behind the play is fascinating – what did you think of Rachel Garret’s play when you read it? I was instantly moved. It’s an incredible feat really. Rachel’s gift is making this elevated text so accessible and vivid. The characters are complicated and true. They are all of us. Humans. I was drawn to Mercutio instantly. A conflicted man living with a rip roaring spirit. I knew this was a piece I had to do. I’m honored Rachel and Philip Wilson (the UK director) trusted me with Mercutio in this beautiful world of the play. 

How would you describe your character? Mercutio is a riot. Daring, free-spirited, a somewhat naughty man. He lives, in every sense, for today, for now. Conflicted and perhaps even cynical about many things, yet he manages to slink his way through society with a genuine charm and charisma. As with any human, his wit and humour sits on top of a complicated man that walks the tightrope daily. Living life on the edge perhaps keeps him breathing. Mercutio lusts life, and all within it. Love is something he hasn’t worked out yet…until…!

What was it that made you want to be part of this production? Rachel’s work is some of the most complete and fascinating I’ve ever read. Mercutio is someone I relate to on many levels. His essence and point of view is one I know all too well. Connection and a yearning for it is something every human being relates to. ‘Starcrossed’ addresses the complexities of human life in many ways. I had to be a part of it. Bringing the play to London with this incredible team, led by Philip Wilson our director is an absolute thrill. Lastly, I’d say there was so much more to discover. I had the privilege of originating this Mercutio in the US and I felt there was so much more to do, find and express. I’m truly grateful to be here for the production. 

How does it feel to be bringing this play to Wilton’s Music Hall? It feels right and it feels delightful. I’m thrilled ‘Starcrossed’ will run in a theatre that truly lives up to the theatricality of the play. Wilton’s is a unique and historic venue and it brings so much to the play itself. It feels like a match. It’s sweeping grandiosity and flavor adds another texture to the play. It fits like a glove really. It’s incredibly useful to us actors and is just a treat really. 

How have you found working on the production so far? A dream! There is a lot to unpack in this beautiful text and the team are all brilliant and care deeply for the text. Coming from the US (and being Australian) I have also felt incredibly welcomed. This is a great group of people working on a great play and I’m not sure I could ask for more! I’m invigorated by the work we are doing. We cannot wait to share it with audiences….it’s rather special.

By Emma Clarendon

Starcrossed gets its UK premiere at Wilton’s Music Hall, Wednesday 1st June – Saturday 25th June. To book tickets visit http://www.wiltons.org.uk/