What’s your previous theatre experience?
I was a member of a youth theatre company for many years where I was lucky enough to play characters ranging from Elaine in Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses, to Blazerbird in Feathers in the Snow, and a Jewish Hedgehog in Wind in the Willows – A Musical which I was strictly not allowed to sing in. It was an amazing company, and we had a lot of fun both in rehearsals and in the pub after. Actually a very good foundation for KDC…
Tell us about your character in The Ghost Train
Peggy is a new bride who always tries to remain positive through adversity, and ensure her new husband doesn’t ‘grouse’. Out of all of the people stranded at the station, she is the one who tries to connect with everyone and is always thoughtful towards the other characters, sometimes at her peril…
How have you found the rehearsal process?
I am loving the rehearsal process. It’s intense, but Nick (the director) has unlimited patience and enthusiasm, which really helps the cast. The cast is made up of a fantastic group of people, which adds to the fun, tenfold. We sometimes rehearse in the function rooms of the Hoop & Grapes, which is great. Guinness, the pub’s cat, has much less enthusiasm for the play.
Describe the show in three words.
Hand-wringing, heart-warming and horribly scary.
What are you looking forward to about show week?
I always love how close you get as a cast, so I’m certainly looking forward to the backstage and after show fun. It will be really interesting to hear the audiences’ reaction as well, to see if we have done our jobs properly and that they come on the journey with us. It’s just such a great play to be a part of and we are so lucky to be performing in Barons Court Theatre as it really fits the mood of the play.
What is your favourite spooky film or TV show?
Possibly Young Frankenstein as it is everything good about British humour, and really takes the fun out of the spooky genre.
How did you hear about KDC?
I got a text message from a friend telling me about auditions, so I went along. This was back in 2003 when texting was cutting-edge “social media”.
What have you done with KDC so far (as an actor or otherwise)?
So far I’ve directed five shows, acted in 15 and KDC has produced three of my one-act plays. I was also Chair of KDC from 2004 – 2008. I’ve been able to work with amazingly talented people who all love doing what they do and I’ve made some brilliant friendships along the way.
Why The Ghost Train?
A few years back The Ghost Train was on at my local theatre, The Brockley Jack Studio, and I liked the sound of it. Unfortunately, tickets sold out quickly so I bought a copy of the play to find out why a 1920s play was still popular with modern day audiences. When I read it, I absolutely loved it! It’s a fun ghostly yarn with strong examples of what life was like in the 1920s. The characters are intriguing, the plot is engrossing and it’s full of energy. It also had the right number of cast members for a KDC show, but at the time I was already lining up plays to direct so it went on my ‘maybe’ pile. That was until I saw that KDC were going to be at Barons Court Theatre for their Spring 2017 season as the theatre is a perfect setting for the play, with its stone walls and dark corners, so I proposed it and here we are!
What we should expect from you as a director and the play itself?
Both as a director and actor, I really enjoy doing character work. I believe strongly that you can only give a convincing performance once you know everything there is to know about your character. You need to live in their shoes and understand why do they do what they do, how they think and know their story.
Now that we’re through the blocking stage of working out how to have ten actors on the Barons Court Stage, we’re getting stuck into character work. It’s not just about learning lines and knowing where to stand, it’s about being comfortable as that character and it eventually becoming second nature to the actor. This will bring confidence to their performance, a better understanding of the script and as a result more enjoyable for the audience.
Anything else that would like to add? Embarrassing fact about yourself, or a KDC experience you’d like to share. I’m very excited about returning to Barons Court Theatre, as it is home to my London stage debut – I played Brodin in the KDC production of Red Noses in 2003. There were 23 in the cast and because there were so many people involved we legally couldn’t have full houses as it would exceed the number of people allowed in the space at one time. It was also performed in late June so the space got really hot. Out of sympathy, during the weekend shows, the pub opened their large walk-in fridge so we could sit in it between scenes to cool off. It was rough, especially during the Saturday matinee when we were all hungover and just wanted to sleep. We also used a number of realistic-looking metal swords that the Stage Manager had to guard in the pub during the run as there wasn’t enough space backstage. These caused a few issues, including an altercation with a local resident who took exception to when he was told he couldn’t hold one. In response, him and his inebriated friends threatened to go home and get their own swords so that they could duel with us. We didn’t stick around to see what type of blades they owned!
What’s your previous theatre experience? This is my return to the stage after a 10 year hiatus and I’m currently questioning why it took me so long. A member of various youth theatres (in my youth, obviously) I played a wide cross section of roles from Mack the Knife to Banquo in Macbeth. I have also been known to try my hand at musical theatre, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t come back as easily as acting after a long break.
Tell us about your character in ‘The Ghost Train’ I play Teddie Deakin. He’s a bit of a buffoon, likes to entertain people, but often misjudges the mood.. much to the annoyance of the other characters in the play. He means well though, and I like to think that his pluck gets them through some of the tougher times.
Think Bertie Wooster, but with a bit more about him, and you’re in the right ballpark.
How have you found the rehearsal process? I’ve really enjoyed the rehearsal process. Nick has introduced me to lots of new techniques, and some which I’d forgotten, that have been really helpful, particularly in developing the character. It has also been great to get to know the rest of the cast and crew. A real pleasure to meet new people and make some new friends.
Describe the show in three words. Spooky. Suspenseful. Surprising.
What are you looking forward to about show week? The camaraderie of the cast and crew, that knackered feeling in the run up to the last show before the adrenaline kicks back in. The costumes, the lights, the different reaction of the audience every night. The party. So pretty much everything actually.
What is your favourite spooky film or TV show? For spooky, I’d have to go with some of the Black Mirror episodes. For outright scary though, nothing comes close to The Omen.
What’s your previous KDC experience? I was in a production of The Children’s Hour at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in March 2016, directed by Chris Davis. I really enjoyed performing in a more intimate space again and made some incredible friends along the way.
Tell us about your character in ‘The Ghost Train’ Julia Price is, in a word, troubled. She suffers from “delusions” and manic episodes that all started several years earlier when she claims she saw the ghost train one night. Even though she believes that to set eyes upon the ghost train would be death to her, she still feels compelled to see it again.
How have you found the rehearsal process? So far rehearsals have been really fascinating. Nick is really good at giving his actors space to explore their characters and really develop a deeper understanding of their background and the environment in which they live. I’ve already picked up a few good tips that I will definitely be using again!
Describe the show in three words. Intriguing, surprising and… SPOOKY!
What are you looking forward to about show week? That moment when the house lights dim and the audience falls into a hushed silence. In those seconds the relaxed chatter ceases and the whole room fills with anticipation as you feel the eyes of every single audience member turn to the stage. The silence becomes deafening, the stage lights come up, your stomach lurches, you take a deep breath and you launch yourself into the show!
What is your favourite spooky film or TV show? Stranger Things. I remember thinking one Friday night that I’d give it a go and watch the first episode. Fast forward to 5am and I had binged watch the entire series in one sitting! Hands down some of the most compulsive viewing I’ve experienced in a long time!
Richard Winthrop: Ben Baxter Elsie Winthrop: Hannah Brooks John Sterling: David Matthews Saul Hodgkin: Paul Caira Teddie Deakin: James Cross Miss Bourne: Jill Davy Peggy Murdock: Gabriella Guymer-Davies Herbert Price: Felix Newman Charles Murdock: Sotonye Ogan Julia Price: Elizabeth Stevens
When: 6:15-6:30pm registration, auditions 6:30pm-9:30pm, Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 January 2017. Choose whichever date suits you best. Where: Theatre Deli Studios, 30 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London E14 9TP Nearest Tube: Canary Wharf or South Quay
Auditions are FREE to attend Recalls: 10am-4pm, Sunday 22 January 2017 Venue: As Above
You will be called on Friday 20 January if the director would like to see you again.