Brief encounter with... Ross DruryDate: 6 May 2012
Why did you choose to revive a Coward play?
The foremost reason to revive Private Lives is that, despite over 80 years passing since its first performance, it remains wickedly witty, sharply observed, and laugh-out-loud funny. It is a masterful comedy that is as relevant today as it was revolutionary in 1930. What we often forget is that Noel Coward was the tearaway rebel, playwright of his time. His first hit, The Vortex was described as "un peu shocking" and Fallen Angel , "an immoral and disgusting play". Our Private Lives is a celebration of the luxurious decadence of the Jazz age and a rollercoaster ride through Coward’s desert-dry wit.
What can you tell us about the protagonist character - Amanda?
In 1930 Amanda must have seemed like a woman from another world. She is fiercely independent and the sharpest tongue in any room she finds herself in. Her views on love, sex and marriage were positively futuristic when compared to her contemporaries and she offers the men in her life a radically different and hugely appealing lifestyle. It has been suggested that Amanda is Coward's voice in the play, embodying his personal sexual attitudes and urges – living, perhaps, vicariously through her.
Are you excited about performing at The Grand Hotel?
The Grand Hotel is indeed a grand setting for the show! Private Lives belongs to world of elegant sophistication and at The Grand we have been gifted that in abundance. The exciting thing about site specific theatre is that audience are invited to see life through the eyes of the characters. Our atmosphere, setting and sense of time, is created by the actors and the space. By immersing the audience in the world of play we lead them to the heart of this character driven comedy. Live violins and a few fancy cocktails for the audience will transport The Grand Hotel back to the 1930’s. The dress code is posh too!
Tell us a bit about what you have done before?
I trained at the East 15 Acting School with an MA in Directing and also graduated from the University of Kent in Drama and Theatre Studies 2008. Additionally, I have been a part of the NSDF national ensemble 2008, the Young Vic Springboard 2009, The Moscow Arts Theatre and most recently, the National Theatre’s Directors course .
I have assisted Edward Bond and most recently Russell Bolam on the new Philip Ridley play, Shivered at Southwark Playhouse. A few years ago Iwas touring with the Shakespearean clowning troupe-The Pantaloons. My directing credits include Niel Labutes The Shape of Things, 4.48 Psychosis, by Sarah Kane and A Street Car Named Desire.
Tells us more about the Something Witty Theatre team
We are very lucky to have a very talented team on this production. We have Rebecca Thurston from the BBC’s hit drama Being Human in the cast and Tom Livingstone, our Assistant Director, is an improv comedian from the Noise Next Door. Another member of our cast, Heather Rayment, won the Argus Angel Best Actress award in 2011 for her stand-out performance in Something Witty’s The Open Couple. It’s both a pleasure and a challenge to be surrounded by a company with this much ability.
Private Lives by Something Witty Theatre continues its run at the Grand Hotel on 12 May at 4.00pm, 13 May at 3pm with 19 – 20 May and 26 – 27 May shows also at 3pm.
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