Imagine a Boy

Imagine a Boy

What were your thoughts when you first heard about the plan to perform The Events, but alongside the actors from the different shows in Austria and Norway?

I was very enthusiastic and forthcoming about the idea, and honestly had no idea how it would work and how it was going to be structured. Anything challenging or a somewhat ludicrous idea gets my attention and excitement going. 

In what way did taking part in these three special performances affect the way you approached your role, if any? Having learnt your lines in English, how did you cope with having to work with actors responding to you in another language?

Performing in all three different shows really pointed out one of the integral elements that affected my performance was listening. It took me back to the basic and the pure form of performance which involved hearing clearly, then react. Subsequently this gave me a strong focus and forced me/us to be attentive as we had no other choice.  There were some clear gestures, particularly the Austrian actors that aided me with clues as to what happens next from moment to moment. But, as obvious as it may sound, knowing my lines thoroughly and also as much of the other characters lines was a huge help in making the performance and interaction with the international actors seamless.

Did you have any concerns about how the audience would react to a surtitled performance featuring multiple languages, and how do you think they responded compared to a standard presentation of The Events? What new insights did you get about the play and its themes from taking part in this ‘mashed-up’ version?

I was about worried about the technicalities of the piece and how it may affect the audience. For instance, the positioning of the caption board could be read by the audience in relation to the actors on stage - is it too high up and if so, will they miss the acting part as they’ll be too busy reading? It took a while for the audience to adjust to this naturally, and we did a decent job of staying focused throughout and I could see that the audience stopped reading the surtitles less and followed the action onstage more, occasionally glancing up to the translation s a guideline. I discovered that this play transcends beyond the English language. It is just as powerful in any language. It reminded how the main underlying theme of the play can still be conveyed so strongly and beautifully, which is evil doings; questioning the notion of sanity and insanity; testing one’s faith and character and the idea of forgiveness. This version, using the different performers and their personal experiences and background revealed to me how varied our yielding points are. 

What languages and countries would you yourself like to see The Events performed in (with you still speaking English of course)?

I would love to hear and see it in Yoruba, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Italian, Portuguese and Zulu! There are plenty more but I shall leave it at that for now…

Clifford Samuel