The National production, which premiered last year at the NT Cottesloe, recently re-opened at the West End's Duchess Theatre. Ejiofor and the other original cast members, Andrew Lincoln and Bill Nighy, reprise their roles in a tense three-hander. Blue/Orange - of course!
What difference do the awards you've received for Blue/Orange make to your acting?
Receiving them is a great honour, though it was quite overwhelming at the time. The awards make you feel confident about your approach to the work, that it's moving in the right direction. And not just for when I'm performing in Blue/Orange, but overall, because you apply the same techniques to everything you do. It's a good thing to have on a CV, too.
Favourite production that you've ever worked on
Blue/Orange. The play's fantastic and so is the cast and director. In fact, there's nothing about it not to like. It's been a wonderful experience.
Bill Nighy and Andrew Lincoln from Blue/Orange. I've never felt before as comfortable and secure on stage with a cast. It's the trust, loyalty and faith we have in each other. The play is intense work and we're all thoroughly committed every time.
Roger Michell from Blue/Orange. His approach is so elegant, and he's relentless in his unpicking and stripping down of character and text. With Roger, there's always more to find - it's a constant process of fine-tuning.
Sorry, it's Blue/Orange again - Joe Penhall. In fact, I liked Joe before Blue/Orange, for Some Voices and Love and Understanding. The thing I like specifically about this play is that it's so intelligently and articulately complex, and that makes it a thrill both to read and perform.
What role would you most like to play (if you haven't already)?
Iron in Nigel Williams' Class Enemy. The character bears no relation to my life, but he's interesting because he's complex, violent and young. He's about 16 and going through that formative period, trying to work out the bigger picture. I'm undoubtedly too old to play the part now.
In your opinion, what's the best thing currently on stage?
I loved The Lion King. I thought it was brilliant from beginning to end. You couldn't blowtorch the grin off my face. It's complete spectacle.
What advice would you give the government to secure the future of British theatre?
Try to find more ways to invest in local community theatre.
If you could swap places with one person (living or dead), who would it be & why?
I'd love, even briefly, to have the distinct and beautiful voice of Nat King Cole.
Other People's Trades by Primo Levi
Favourite after-show haunt
The Century bar on Shaftesbury Avenue, especially on a Saturday night after a long week.
Favourite holiday destination
What's your favourite website?
www.livingspirit.com, a web site about guerrilla film-making.
Why did you want to accept your role in Blue/Orange?
I thought it was a great part in a great script. It's contemporary and so stunningly relevant. I didn't know it would be as successful as it has been. I think it's important not to consider that while you're going through the process. You hope people will like it, of course, but you can never really tell until you're out there.
What's your favourite line from Blue/Orange?
You said I could have a coke if I answered your questions. And I answered your questions. So where is it?
How has the transfer from the NT Cottesloe to the Duchess impacted the production?
It's nice to have a break and a new venue. It's an opportunity to re-look at the play and approach it anew, which I found quite valuable.
What's the oddest thing that has happened during the run to date?
During the first preview at the Duchess, the lighting board crashed so we started the performance in darkness and then, after a few minutes, decided we couldn't continue. It took about 20 minutes for the engineers to fix the problem and then we started the play again.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor was speaking to Terri Paddock
Blue/Orange opened at the Duchess Theatre on 30 April and is currently booking to 18 August 2001.