We chatted to Stephen about starring in the World Premiere of Joanne Lau’s Worth, which will run at the Arcola Theatre from the 7th to the 29th April before transferring to Chester’s Storyhouse, playing from the 5th to the 20th May.

Hi – how does it feel to be part of bringing Joanna Lau’s play to the stage? I’m super excited to be in a play about a British Chinese family. Essentially a kitchen sink drama with a lot of comedy. I think this is a rarity. The themes in the play touch on tricky subjects but are also done with great heart and much humour. Getting to work with Director Mingyu Lin again is also something I’ve been looking forward to. Lau’s writing is often like a tennis match so I’m looking forward to the challenge of that.

What can we expect from Worth? WORTH is going to take you on a rollercoaster ride. The characters in the play have all gone off in different directions in life, and having to face their pasts together in the family home is a recipe for big emotions and unravelling. There is a comical incongruity to these siblings which you’ll have to come and see
how it plays out. You should expect a lot of energy and humour but with emotional intensity and moments of revelation.

How did you feel when you first read the script? I felt that it was a great achievement and a testament to Joanne Lau’s talent to create a piece that moves with great alacrity whilst finding those special moments that draw the audience in emotionally. I loved how the characters were all super different from each other and the reasons why they were. The
play is an intense undertaking for an actor and I felt drawn to the challenge of that.

Could you tell me more about the character you play? I play Ted who has escaped the confines of his past. He is very much consumed by the idea of things that translate as success and achievement. In WORTH we discover what being the middle child means to him. Ted’s character also has this sort of inflated ego which obviously comes from a deep insecurity. He has a peculiar relationship to his siblings and is often quick to label his material possessions like it’s some sort of point system.

What do you think audiences will take away from Worth? I hope audiences walk out of the theatre feeling they have been utterly entertained but also made to feel the heart of this family. I hope people leave feeling that they have been witness to a family history that has been through a lot. WORTH is a play that doesn’t hold back with how these characters feel about each other and I think you’re gonna enjoy seeing those ingredients simmer and boil and splurge out in the family home.

By Emma Clarendon

To book tickets visit: https://www.newearththeatre.org.uk/events/worth


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