Norris & Vernon Cast Discuss Virginia MassacreDate: 10 May 2007
Theatregoers were treated to a post-show Q&A session with the writer, director and cast of Vernon God Little at our Whatsonstage.com Outing to the Young Vic last night (10 May 2007).
Director Rufus Norris and adaptor Tanya Ronder joined Whatsonstage.com’s Terri Paddock and actors Colin Morgan (making his professional debut playing the title role), Lorraine Bruce, Andrew Clark, Nathan Osgood, Joanna Scanlan, Ray Shell and Penny Layden to discuss the difficulties of adapting a novel for the stage and opening a show about a school shooting days after the Virginia Tech massacre.
DBC Pierre’s 2003 Booker Prize-winning novel follows the misadventures of American high school student Vernon, starting with him sitting in the sheriff’s office after his best friend Jesus killed all their classmates before committing suicide. This new adaptation brings the fast-paced black comedy to the stage with larger-than-life characters – the nine-strong ensemble play 50 roles between them - and song and dance routines. Vernon God Little premiered on 8 May (previews from 30 April) and continues its limited season until 9 June 2007.
Highlights from the Whatsonstage.com discussion follow …
On opening a comedy about a school shooting days after the events at Virginia Tech
Ray Shell: To me, being from America, it brought home just how real the events are and what those people must have gone through. We’re trying to bring the reality of that into the fantasy on stage.
On casting Colin Morgan, still in drama school, as Vernon
Colin Morgan: It was nice of DBC Pierre to say that he thought I really looked like Vernon. It was good casting I suppose.
On the production’s complex props & staging
On the perception that the play may emotionally distance the audience
On novelist DBC Pierre’s involvement in the adaptation
Rufus Norris: I think it’s a brilliant book, but the courtroom section is very tricky to stage and we had to do an awful lot of work on reordering and refocusing. It’ll be interesting to see what the boss says tomorrow.
- by Malcolm Rock