Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon spoke to the pair about reprising their roles in Vincent River at the Trafalgar Studios.
How are you feeling about reprising your role in Vincent River?
Thomas: I am over the moon that I have the chance to play Davey again. I have thought a lot about the play since our first run at the Park Theatre and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to come back to it and make new and fresher choices. I’m fully aware that it’s not often in life you get a second chance, so I’m not taking a minute of this for granted.
Louise: Trepidacious, challenged, excited, rather thrilled that I have been given another ‘go’ at her. She’s damaged and interesting and so beautifully written.
What was it about the story that initially caught your attention?
Thomas: When I read Vincent River I read it in one breath. The first thing that caught my attention was a quote on the first page of the play from Margaret Atwood, ‘Grief is wanting more’. This quote sang to me. I have wrestled with grief for most of my life. People are always telling me ‘you’re like an old man’. I think that’s because I’m spending a lot of my time thinking about Death. What is it? What am I left with? What could I have done? Questions. Grief can be a deep, unpredictable madness that leads you to do the strangest things. Davey is that raw wound and Anita is both the cause and the ointment.
Louise: Its relevance to today, despite being written a generation ago. It will appeal across the generations. It really has stood the test of time and my eyes qualifies as a ‘classic’.
Could you tell me more about your character?
Thomas: Davey is a young man who has spent most of his adolescence living a lie. Unable to have a conversation with anyone about his dreams, his sexuality and his pain. All his closest relationships are falsehoods and they are built on the foundations of his constant lies. He’s unable to orient himself in the world and he’s lost. He falls in to nihilism. He tells us ‘I don’t fucking care’ and ‘I couldn’t give a fuck’. He has stalked Anita for the last three months to finally tell the truth. They say ‘the truth will set you free’ and Davey knows this to be true.
Louise: She’s consumed by grief and loss. Anyone who has suffered a bereavement will empathise, and Anita has suffered a mother’s worst nightmare.
How have you found working with director Robert Chevara?
Thomas: Robert Chevara took a chance on me when he cast me as Davey and I am eternally grateful. Robert asks the thoughtful questions and provides valuable incites. He has provided me with a wealth of material and ideas to help me tell Davey’s story. Always patient and always Generous. Robert understands that creating a piece of theatre isn’t easy and the antidote to that is hard work. Rehearsing with Robert and Louise is a joy.
Louise: Robert is like a sculptor – he is facilitating a reveal of what we are capable of, gently chipping until the shape fits his vision, but never imposing.
For those who haven’t seen it – what can they expect from the production?
Thomas: I think the audience can expect to be exhilarated. Everyone involved in the production has worked their arses off for ‘Vincent River’ but Phillip Ridley’s writing is so incredible that you could turn a light on and have a person read ‘Vincent River’ and you would be on for the ride. The writing is so good. Phillip Ridley is a genius!
Louise: To leave the theatre altered from how they entered it.
By Emma Clarendon
Vincent River continues at the Trafalgar Studios until 22 June 2019