How did you get involved with "Saturday Night Forever?
I was called in to audition for the part last summer by Nicola Reynolds who was casting the show. I met her, Kate Wasserberg the director, and Gareth Lloyd Roberts, the producer, at the London Welsh Centre and we had an absolute ball - they must have thought I did alright because I was called back for a recall a week later and then they offered me the part the next day. I was absolutely thrilled!
What was your first reaction when you read the play?
I just knew that I had to do this play. As an actor you always get excited about potential jobs, but there was something about this part, this story, and the creatives involved that just felt right. It's funny as well as touching and emotional. Roger Williams, the writer, has written such a wonderful piece for an actor to perform, and I feel very lucky and privileged to get to tell Lee's story.
Did you find the role of Lee daunting or challenging?
Yeah I definitely found parts of Lee a challenge. Especially towards the end of the show. There's nowhere really to hide with the character because he shows every side of emotion in the space of an hour. But I'm always one to take on a challenge!
As someone who occasionally dabbles in Amateur Dramatics the prospect of a one-person show seems positively alarming. How good are you at learning lines?
Well when I found out I'd been cast in the show and they sent me the updated script I did have a mild panic attack. I was worried that as I was out there alone, if I forgot something I'd have nobody to save me! But as more gets added to the show like lights and music, you start to take certain cues from them, and I also talk to the audience throughout so really, they are the other character in the show. So far it's all been fine!
It all looks effortless on stage. Do you get nervous?
Oh absolutely, every single night. The first night of the show in Aberystwyth last October was the worst. I had to sit on my dressing room floor and breathe deeply! I don't think nerves ever go away, but once you step out there and start delivering your lines they just seem to fade.
What is the hardest part of the role?
There's lots of challenges. For me, if I can get the audience to come along with me on the journey and really feel something by the end of the show, then I've done my job.
The staging is perfect. Did it take a lot of rehearsals to get it to the current level?
Well we originally toured the show last year, and the set was the same but it was a bit bigger and I moved around a lot more. We had about 3 weeks of rehearsals then. For this staging we did a week of re-rehearsals which was great, as we were able to edit and fine tune it into the show it is today.
Do you enjoy singing on stage?
Yeah I love to sing. I'm not sure that it's my favourite song ever though...
Does it take you a long-time to come down after the show or are you physically and exhausted?
Yeah, I have my little after-show routine to get back into my own skin. I think it's important to try and leave a lot of what's happened on the stage and not bring it off with you.
Are you a Take That fan?
.........no. That's something Lee and I share. Sorry Gary!
Your play is on at 7.10pm. How do you plan to pace your day?
Well I'm planning on seeing LOTS of shows! I can't wait to see all the other Welsh companies going up, and see what else the Fringe has to offer.
You are alternating with “ Alix In Wuntergarten”. Are you relieved you don’t have to perform every day?
I'm not sure it's a feeling of relief, but I do feel quite jammy!
How do you plan to use your day off?
Seeing other shows, meeting up with people, not talking very much! It's a big show for me so I'll definitely be trying to relax on days off. I don't really drink, so there's no fear of any hangover-shows! Oh - and flyering. Lots of flyering.
If have been to the festival before what are your memories?
I've never worked it, but I did go up a few years ago for three days. I remember seeing Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical and having the funniest time, and I also saw a show called Blink by Nabakov and the Soho which was just stunning.
If you haven’t, what are your expectations?
Honestly I don't know what to expect as a performer! I'm just going to go and enjoy every day.
Have you a list of shows you want to see this year?
Yeah I definitely want to see all the Welsh companies. There's so much on, I plan on seeing loads. Also, '9 to 5' the Dolly Parton musical is on...I will be there! I'm a sucker for country music!
What are you most looking forward to at this year's festival?
I think this show is really important and has a message which is so relevant, and I just really want to try and tell Lee's story to everyone who sees the show. That's what I'm looking forward to.
Saturday NIght Forever is playing on even numbered days between 8-28 August
19.10 at Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)