sun 18/08/2019

Theatre Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Writer Michael Frayn

Jasper Rees

Michael Frayn (b 1933) has been having an annus mirabilis. The play the hapless actors of Noises Off are touring is called Nothing On. In the playwright’s case, almost everything has been on. Frayn’s best-known farce spent the first half of the year tickling ribs at the Old Vic and then in the West End.

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Interview: 10 Questions for Rob Ashford

Matt Wolf

Rob Ashford occupies a unique perch in the Anglo-American theatre. Florida-born, raised in West Virginia and a product of Broadway, where he began as a dancer in shows including Parade, Victor/Victoria and the celebrated Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes, he some while back crossed to the other side of the footlights to build a career as a director/choreographer that has spanned the Atlantic.

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Kiss the Day Goodbye: Marvin Hamlisch, 1944-2012

Jasper Rees

Marvin Hamlisch’s three Oscars all came in 1974. "I think now we can talk to each other as friends," he said as he accepted his third award of the night. He composed the winning song "The Way We Were" (and the film's score) for Barbara Streisand, having started out on Broadway as rehearsal pianist in Funny Girl.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Simon Stephens

Jasper Rees

Simon Stephens (b 1971) is the most prolific British playwright of his generation. Born and brought up in Stockport, he began writing as a student in York University and had produced seven plays before his Bluebird was produced at the Royal Court in 1998.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Martin Crimp

aleks Sierz

Playwright Martin Crimp is one of British theatre’s best-kept secrets. Although his neon-lit name appears in the theatre capitals of Europe, with his work a big hit at festivals all over the continent, here he is better known to students - who love his 1997 masterpiece Attempts on Her Life - than to ordinary theatregoers.

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Interview: Director Peter Gill

Dylan Moore

There is a simple explanation to why Cardiff-born Peter Gill has never directed in his home city, despite the fact that many of his own plays are set in the Catholic, working-class Cardiff of his youth. “I’d never been asked,” states Gill matter-of-factly; “it’s just a trade; it’s not a magical world. You have to ask me to do things.”

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Zach Braff

Jasper Rees

Zach Braff (b 1975) is overwhelmingly known as the star of Scrubs, the hugely popular American hospital comedy which came with a side order of surrealism. But fans of low-budget indie cinema will also cherish fond memories of Garden State, which he wrote, directed and starred in alongside Natalie Portman.

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The King's Speech: From Screen to Stage

David Seidler

George VI had been my hero since childhood because I was such a terrible stutterer. We had been evacuated from England to the US and during the war, particularly the latter stages, my parents would encourage me to listen to the King’s speeches on the wireless. “Listen, David,” they’d say, “he was a far worse stutterer than you, and listen to him now. He’s not perfect but he can give these magnificent stirring speeches that really work.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Barrie Rutter

Hilary Whitney

In 1992 Northern Broadsides, the Halifax-based theatre company founded by Barrie Rutter, staged its first production, Richard III. Rutter (b 1946), an established actor who had worked with some of the most distinguished names in theatre such as Jonathan Miller, Terry Hands, Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn, directed the show and also played the title role.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Siân Phillips

Jasper Rees

Siân Phillips (b 1933) belongs to a remarkable generation of British actresses. They include Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Joan Plowright and Sheila Hancock. Although just as indomitable a presence on stage and screen, Phillips is set apart from them not only by dint of her Welshness – Welsh was her mother language as a child – but also by the curious shape of her career.

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