Can you tell us a bit about The Library Theatre Company’s adaptation of DH Lawrence’s The Daughter-in-Law?
It was written in 1912 and it is set in Eastwood, North Nottinghamshire.We’re trying to get this accent, which is really odd. It’s all written in the vernacular, so it’s all written in that accent. Some of it is really difficult to get the pronunciation of and to know what we’re talking about. We’ve got Sally Hague to do the accents with us, who teaches at RADA. She also comes from Leicestershire, so she has some inkling of where it was going. We’ve been in rehearsal for two weeks – it’s heavy, but there are laughs in it. It’s about a serious subject, as my character, Luther, gets a girl pregnant and he’s only been married six weeks. That has an affect on everybody else, including his wife, Minnie, who is the daughter-in-law. I’m enjoying it.
How are you finding playing Luther Gascoigne – what are you finding most challenging and what do you most enjoy about the role?
He’s slower than his wife, and slower than everybody else in the play. He’s quite a confused chap, simple he’s not ambitious, and his wife, Minnie, wants to make him better. It’s difficult, but it’s about picking up other people’s rhythms and it is challenging meeting those things. I’m most enjoying working with director Chris Honer again, who I worked with in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me. I like having a nice small cast, we all get on, and there’s a nice mixture of girls and boys, which is great.
How are you finding working with the rest of the cast and director Chris Honer?
They are all really relaxed and it’s nice having different generations. We’ve all had this common cause of having to learn this accent as well. Chris does this thing of talking about the play, and then we read it through, and go over any questions we might have. Then we stand up, so it’s bit by bit by bit. He makes sure that you confirm you know what you’re doing, and gives you something to think about. We’ve also just made a trailer, which is online now.
Would you say there is a target audience for the piece?
No. I’ve got a four and a half-year-old daughter and if she was allowed I would bring her in. The stuff about adultery and pregnancy would go over her head, and she wouldn’t understand what we were saying. I think it’s for everyone, because there are so many generations in the play. Teenagers would be fine with it.
What would you say an audience is going to gain from coming to this production?
I think what it means to be married, and some old-fashioned values, which still are true today. It’s interesting to go back, with it being exactly 100 years old.
Why do you personally think that this production hasn’t been performed more?
I honestly don’t know. When I read it, I thought that the play felt really modern – kind of 50s or 60s. I guess he wasn’t fashionable at the time, because there were people like George Bernard Shaw, and then he died, and people forgot his plays and he was remembered for Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Having appeared in ITV’s At Home With The Braithwaites, how are you finding the difference of being on the stage, in comparison to the screen?
It’s better. If it paid the same as television, it would be even better, but it doesn’t. You get stretched more and you get to work off other people more.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I have an audition for the Royal Exchange’s production of Lady Windermere’s Fan next, which is posh so I’m going to have to get my head around a different accent.
Alun Raglan was speaking to Rebecca Cohen.
The Daughter in-Law is at the Lowry from 23 February - 10 March.