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Lampedusa: In their words…

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Lampedusa Cast and Creatives speak about the critically acclaimed play!

We dropped into rehearsals for Lampedusa, the new play by Anders Lustgarten which has, since opening, been heralded as ‘his best yet… brave, bold and moving’ by The Guardian, and ‘One of the most gently enticing pieces of storytelling you will see… Shattering’ by The Times.

We interviewed Louise Mai Newberry and Ferdy Roberts who both perform inLampedusa, as well as director Steven Atkinson and playwright Anders Lustgarten.

How are rehearsals?

Louise: Good (laughs)
Ferdy: Yeah it’s good it’s been intense.
Louise: Well I suppose because it’s only two of us it is intense. It’s not like being in a show with 20 other people and you’re not called for half the scenes – it’s like… You’re on! All the time!

How are you finding performing in a play where you don’t share story-lines?

Ferdy: We’ve been in the rehearsal in the rehearsal room pretty much all the time together and in effect you are sort of bouncing off each other.
Louise: That’s it, although we’re never actually in dialogue we are very together in the piece and listening and aware of, and responding to one another and what’s going on in each other’s stories.
Ferdy: The difficult thing is you have to try not to pick up on each other’s rhythms.

Is Lampedusa different to something you might usually see in Soho Upstairs?

Steven: Well something we wanted to do which Soho Theatre have really supported was how we make an auditorium which is perfect for telling this particular play. So it became about how we involve the audience as much as possible. So I think for people who go and see lots of shows in Soho Upstairs this will feel really fresh and exciting.

Do you need to know about Lampedusa and the issues there to understand the play?

Anders: No I don’t really think so, no. And it’s not written with the supposition that you’re already highly familiar with it. The whole point of it actually is that most people aren’t familiar with it. It’s quite interesting I’ve been telling people ‘So I’m doing this play, about Lampedusa, you know?’ Just to see what their reactions are, and at least half the people who you would think would know what Lampedusa is symbolically, and what it represents just kind of look at you. So this is a surprisingly under-represented and misunderstood phenomenon given the fact that it involves thousands of deaths each year and is essentially EU foreign policy. So hopefully if you don’t know of it, you’ll be surprised. If you do know of it, you’ll be moved.

Lampedusa is at Soho Theatre until 26 April, after which it will transfer to HighTide Festival 2015, 10-20 September 2015.

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