sun 21/04/2019

Theatre Interviews

10 Questions for Playwright Joe Penhall

Jasper Rees

Joe Penhall first thwacked his way to the attention of British theatregoers more than 20 years ago with a series of plays about schizos and psychos and wackos. An iconoclastic laureate of lithium, his early hit Some Voices (1994), about a care-in-the-community schizophrenic, went on to be filmed starring Daniel Craig. In 2000 he returned to the subject in Blue/Orange.

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10 Questions for Artistic Director Emma Rice

Jasper Rees

In his last minutes as the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, Dominic Dromgoole took to the stage to reflect on his years at the helm. Behind him was the cast of Hamlet, home after two years on the road playing to audiences from every country on the planet. He acknowledged his predecessor Mark Rylance, who waved a hat from the throng of groundlings, and then pointed up to the circle where his successor Emma Rice was greeted with gales of welcoming applause.

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10 Questions for playwright Patrick Barlow

Jasper Rees

Patrick Barlow’s last play was parked in the West End for nine years. The 39 Steps finally closed this autumn, but not before travelling all over the world, most prestigiously to Broadway but also, among other destinations, to Russia, Japan, Australia, Korea, Hong Kong and France. There have been no fewer than eight different productions in Germany, including one with an all-female cast.

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10 Questions for Director Roger Michell

Jasper Rees

It’s not easy to see the pattern in Roger Michell’s career. More than most British directors, he has zigzagged between the stage and the screen. He was the one who first rehearsed such contemporary classics as Kevin Elyot’s My Night with Reg and Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange towards their premieres, he has regularly staged the works of Pinter, and yet he is also the director of Notting Hill.

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An Open Book: David Lan

Marianka Swain

This year’s Olivier Awards saw the Young Vic trounce its South Bank neighbours, with Ivo van Hove’s revolutionary A View from the Bridge leading 11 nominations and four wins; the production opens on Broadway next week. It reflects an extraordinary period during which the theatre, originally an offshoot of the National, has grown to become one of Britain’s major creative powerhouses – all under the aegis of South African-born David Lan, artistic director since 2000.

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10 Questions for Actress Jane Lapotaire

Heather Neill

Jane Lapotaire's distinguished career on stage and screen was cut short in 2000 when she collapsed in Paris with a massive brain haemorrhage. She was giving a Shakespeare masterclass at the time and now, 15 years later, at the age of 70, she is once again acting on stage in Shakespeare.

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10 Questions for Actor Jason Hughes

Jasper Rees

Jason Hughes belongs to an influential generation of actors who emerged from South Wales in the 1990s. A promising rugby player as a teenager, his head was turned by theatre. Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon were only a few years above him at school in Porthcawl. In the National Youth Theatre of Wales he met Michael Sheen.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Roger Rees

Jasper Rees

Roger Rees, whose death at the age of 71 was announced yesterday, never intended to act. He trained at the Slade and made extra money painting theatrical scenery. One day a director asked if he’d like to act, and he laid down his brush. The second time he applied to join the RSC, he got in. He stayed with the company for a now unimaginable 22 years and in due course became one of the great stars of British theatre in the 1980s.

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Sinatras on Sinatra: 'He was a lonely soul'

Jasper Rees

Frank Sinatra is back in London in the centenary of his birth. His disembodied voice is returning in a show called Sinatra: The Man & His Music. At the London Palladium, where he made his British debut 65 years ago, there’s to be a 24-piece orchestra, 20 dancers and video effects galore in a multi-media concert featuring many of his best-loved songs. At the heart of it will be footage supplied by the Sinatra Estate.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Michael Longhurst

Jasper Rees

Is there more than one Michael Longhurst? As sometimes happens in theatre, a rising young director seems to be everywhere at once. His calling card is the modestly universal Constellations. Directed with clarity and simplicity, Nick Payne’s romantic two-hander with multiple narratives has travelled from the Royal Court via the West End to New York, before touring the UK and heading back to London this week.

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