Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) again, in Once, The Musical. I absolutely love this one too! Wow, just… wow:
Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) again, in Once, The Musical. I absolutely love this one too! Wow, just… wow:
This REALLY makes me wish there had been tickets available for Once The Musical when I was in NYC and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) was there. I’d have loved to see this live:
The Big Issue had a nice interview with Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) on his new project:
“It’s a bit of a monster,” claims Arthur Darvill. “The whole thing is very ambitious and something I am very proud of.”
Speaking from the picturesque balcony of his New York apartment (“I can see the Empire State Building from my balcony, which I still find ridiculous”), the 31-year-old Doctor Who alumnus isn’t referring to his lead in Tony award-winning musical, Once. Although thanks to its current stellar Broadway run, Darvill’s star has never been brighter Stateside.
The Brummie actor is musing on his new project back in London. Wearing his composer’s hat, the self-confessed “soul man” is making history at Shakespeare’s Globe, having penned the score for the first musical ever to be staged at the venerable venue.
The Lightning Child – a ‘remix’ of Euripides’ Greek tragedy The Bacchae – is his biggest composition to date. It reunites Darvill with writer Ché Walker and director Matthew Dunster five years after the trio brought The Frontline to the Globe in what was the first contemporary play ever to be staged within the renowned wooden ‘O’.
“I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been a musical at the Globe before,” Darvill says. “It’s a space that is crying out for big soul tunes. We will get people moving.”
Darvill’s buoyant personality has lit up the stage and screen in the last couple of years: appearing alongside Matt Smith in Doctor Who bagged him a primetime following, and led directly to his role as vicar Paul Coates in sinister whodunnit drama Broadchurch.
The Lightning Child struck a chord with his first love: music. “Music has always played a big role in my life,” he reflects. “My dad’s a keyboard player, mainly Hammond organ, who played for Ruby Turner and Steel Pulse, and toured with Fine Young Cannibals.
“Growing up in Birmingham there was a big reggae scene, with UB40, that kind of thing. It was all around me and it’s in my bones. Then meeting Ché opened my eyes to writing for theatre.”
This doesn’t mean composing the sexed-up, riotous modern remix of a Dionysian epic was easy, however. “When Ché first sent me a copy of the script it was three times as long as it is now and sat on my desk for a year,” Darvill explains.
“I just didn’t know where to start. This has been a real stretch for me. There was no restriction and I had to research so many different styles of music going back generations. It’s been a real learning curve.”
If it’s not quite Doctor Who meets Shakespeare jamming over a 2 Tone Records back catalogue, The Lightning Child does transcend generations in a way that the Time Lord himself would be proud of.
Classical and contemporary, its cast of real and imagined characters – including Billie Holiday, Neil Armstrong, Caster Semenya, a couple of heroin addicts and a pitbull terrier named Cleopatra – explores the musical roots of Ancient Greece and the squats of contemporary London. And this is before a group of intoxicated worshippers gather in pre-Christian Africa to honour the god Dionysus with orgiastic rites, to the disgust of prudish king Pentheus.
Ché Walker explains: “People need to expect the unexpected. You won’t have seen anything like this before. My dream is that people will still be thinking about this play long after they have left.”
Walker’s dream of bringing the 2,400-year-old Athenian tragedy to life began in the 1990s. “It’s probably been 20 years in the making, since I was first involved in a student production of The Bacchae at drama school,” he says. “It was electrifying and from the very first moment it gripped me.
“It was my first exposure to Greek drama and I’ll never forget it. With Euripides, he put regular folk at the centre of his work – a fisherman, a servant and so on – and this was a really radical thing to do in his day. That stuck with me.”
This ethos also resonates in his teaching experiences. Walker is one of Britain’s most respected contemporary playwrights and finds time to work with Camden’s Wac Arts, which offers affordable training to young people, as well as at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). “Teaching is something that I am most proud of,” he says. “It’s my espresso and it keeps my feet firmly on the ground.”
But, he points out, it is at grassroots level that the continuing erosion of Britain’s arts budgets is having the most devastating effects. Just weeks ago councils in England were told their cultural spending will be cut by another £124m by March.
“We are witnessing tremendous funding cuts,” he says regretfully. “It’s very difficult to see and is just coming from all angles. We don’t want the industry to become inaccessible to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
The Globe is in many ways a perfect home for Walker, with his egalitarian worldview and passion for entertaining the masses with riotous, mould-breaking and thought-provoking productions.
“It was only when I finished writing The Lightning Child that I realised how suited it was to the scale and noisiness that the Globe is known for,” he says. “It felt like a natural fit.”
The Lightning Child is at Shakespeare’s Globe from September 14 to October 12
About a week and a half ago Zap2It had an interview with Jenna Coleman where she talked about everything from ComicCon to food. Yes, I’m just getting around to it now. Sorry! Read on below:
Jenna Coleman might be the luckiest girl in the “Doctor Who” universe. She joined the show as the Doctor’s mysterious companion, Clara, in its 50th Anniversary season and found herself working with Matt Smith on his final episodes. Soon, she’ll help usher in a brand new Twelfth Doctor (to be announced in a live international TV special airing this weekend).
In less than a year’s time, she’s acted alongside famous guest stars including Diana Rigg, John Hurt, Warwick Davis, Richard E. Grant and David Warner and just recently made her first trek to Comic-Con (where her boyfriend, actor Richard Madden, also turned up to promote HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).
We sat down with Coleman for a one on one chat during the recent TCA summer press tour to discuss “Who”-mania, the upcoming 50th Anniversary and Christmas specials, what it was like working with iconic stars from “Who” past, and (because we couldn’t resist) what she thought of the “Game of Thrones” Red Wedding.
We even had a special guest interrupt the conversation…
Let’s talk a little bit about the 50th. I know you can’t say too much, but what was the vibe like on set, since it was the 50th Anniversary special. Did it feel like a regular episode?
Jenna Coleman: No, it didn’t. It was different in so many ways. Because it’s 3D, the way of shooting is totally different. The cameras are a lot bigger. It takes a lot more time with set ups, and actually filming the show. Also, just having so many people on set. It’s such an ensemble cast, with the three Doctors, with Billie Piper, myself, lots of different characters.
It was a really nice feeling because every day felt like a celebration. There was just a buzz. You knew you were part of something special, and part of the history of the show. There was that kind of atmosphere around. I have to think it will be lovely to look back in a few years and be like, ‘Cool, I was part of that whole thing!’
It looks like David Tennant and Matt Smith have terrific chemistry together judging by the Comic-Con trailer. Was that evident on the set too?
Yeah, from the read-through actually. You read it in the script, and you’re like, ‘This is brilliant. This is brilliant.’ It was so snappy. And just the kind of the humor that David’s doctor has, and then Matt — they’re very different doctors, very different but also there’s definitely a meeting of minds in humor. Then there’s also the antagonistic stuff as well going on. And John Hurt is completely his own [Doctor]. It’s just a great dynamic of the three of them being the one person.
Had you met Billie Piper before or was this the first time?
This was the first time I had met her. I heard a lot about her. Matt’s really good friends with Billie, so I felt like I met her before.
Did you compare companion notes at all?
It’s funny, the stuff you talk about is more like the logistics of like, ‘Oh yeah, I used to eat at this place.’ ‘Well, actually did you know about this place?’ ‘Oh, I stayed in this place.’ We shared notes on that kind of thing, and then we just really got on. She’s great to have around. She’s got such a good energy on set as well. We all had special chairs made for us for the 50th. In between takes and stuff like that, we’d sit around and it was just like a big family.
It sounds exciting.
It was, and we’d all get Nando’s at lunch. Do you have that here?
I haven’t heard of it.
It’s like a spicy chicken take-away. We’d all bond over Nando’s. It was everybody’s birthday as well, which was weird. It was my birthday, David’s birthday, Joe, our lead cameraman’s, birthday. I’d never been on a shoot with so much cake!
Did John Hurt eat Nando’s also?
No, John wasn’t into Nando’s.
I had to ask! Switching topics a bit, Steven Moffat said at Comic-Con that he’s still writing the Christmas Special with Matt’s departure. I’m not asking for spoilers but do you know anything about it at all?
I know a tiny little bit, but to be honest, I like to wait for script. I like to read it as the page turns.
At what point did you find out Matt would be leaving?
It was always [talked about] from day one. It’s not a decision that he’s made lightly, and it’s something that we’ve been all talking about for a while, so I kind of knew from the start, really, that, that was what was going to happen.
Did you get any reassurance for Clara that if the Doctor leaves, she would stay?
I’m trying to think how it went. I think the idea was, as it always is in the show, we get to know the doctor and a companion for a couple of seasons before they move on.
I definitely don’t want to see her go yet. We’ve only spent half a season with her, and during that time she was mostly a mystery.
That’s what I’m very excited about is that we can actually get the more human side. We couldn’t get to know too much about her because she was a mystery last year. It’s going to be nice just to have her as a human, as a girl. There’s quite a lot to explore still, I think.
When David Tennant left he was on his own, but Matt’s departure seems more similar to when Christopher Eccleston left and Rose got to continue with another Doctor.
It’s only been done once with Rose, I think. At the moment, it feels like a blank canvas. It’s totally in Steven’s mind. That’s what’s kind of exciting, with the nature of the show, we could go anywhere with it. I suppose there is an element of starting again as well which is always so exciting about the show.
I don’t know how they did this with Billie, but have you been involved in the casting process for the Twelfth Doctor in terms of chemistry tests or things like that?
Yeah, I think it’s a good way to do it. Obviously I had a few auditions with Matt, and I know Matt read with some of the [other] potential companions. I think it’s really good for the writers as well to see us read together.
It’s going to be exciting to have a front row seat to the casting because I’ve been on the other side of it quite a lot on different jobs. I’ve never actually been the girl reading with them, so it’s interesting. I like to see lots of different actors do the same scene, and how different they can make it and what they can do.
Have you started thinking at all about your own ending on the show? The Doctor’s companions are always leaving, and this seems like a very exciting time to be a part of “Doctor Who” because Arthur [Darvill] and Karen [Gillan] and Matt have all gone on to great roles.
Yeah. I saw Arthur on Broadway [in ‘Once’]! His voice is insane. I don’t know. It still feels very much like I’m at the beginning, but what’s quite nice is I’m working on something else [BBC miniseries ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’] at the moment. I sort of have a break and then I have another break, after Matt goes, later in the year because I know I’m not shooting until January. It means I get to explore other projects and come back, and that keeps me very happy.
What’s your role in “Pemberley” like?
I’m playing Lydia Wickham, who is, I apologize already to every single viewer because the director gave me the note, ‘We all should want to slap you in the face,’ so I’m basically as annoying and awful and hysterical a drama queen as possible. I’ve had a great time having a license to just be ridiculous, basically. But everybody else has to sit and witness it, so sorry about that.
I hope it’s okay to ask a “Game of Thrones” question, but what was your reaction to the Red Wedding, since you must have known that was coming?
I think my reaction was just this [jaw drops], for about five minutes. That’s something that I knew was coming, but it was just hand over mouth, shock.
And at Comic-Con you shared a panel with David Bradley [who plays Walder Frey on “Game of Thrones” and stars in the upcoming “Doctor Who” docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time”], had you ever met him before?
No. He was in [‘Doctor Who’] but that was before I was. He’s a good friend of my boyfriend’s, and also Matt has said some wonderful things about David Bradley. He’s a rock star. He’s cool. You know somebody is a good actor when it makes you feel uncomfortable, afterwards even.
[At this point Matt Smith jumps in briefly to tease Coleman.]
Matt Smith: Is she still going on? I’m really sorry. She’s really boring.
I can’t get her to stop talking!
[Coleman to Smith:] Pipe down, Smith. Go eat some caramel wafers.
[Smith walks away smiling.]
Sorry about him.
It’s funny he did that because he keeps mentioning the great friendships that he’s made on the show, and it must be a little sad to think that he’ll be leaving soon.
I’ll miss him. I will so miss him. We don’t say things like that to each other. But I just can’t imagine it yet. That’s the thing, I don’t need to because we’ve not finished. We have yet to say our goodbyes and yet to even read those goodbyes, so I’ve not moved on. I’ve not dumped him just yet, you know what I mean?
You want to make the most of it.
Oh, massively. [Smith’s first full episode] ‘Eleventh Hour’ is one of my favorite episodes, and it’s one of Matt’s as well. I think he’s been such an incredible, amazing Doctor. [The Christmas special] is going to be such a tribute to Matt, and to the Eleventh Doctor.
We both just want to really go in there and make it up there with ‘Eleventh Hour’ — as strong as possible to give him the best goodbye possible. It’s gonna be exciting. Coming to Comic-Con, and seeing the trailers and things like that, you’re like, ‘Aw, I missed that,’ because we hadn’t done it for a couple of months. It’s like, ‘Let’s get ourselves back to Cardiff, and make some “Doctor Who”!’
The “Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary Special airs worldwide Nov. 23.
Arthur Darvill talks about his Broadway debut (I’d LOVE to be able to go see this) and about Matt Smith’s departure from Doctor Who