Joshua Hayes is currently rehearsing the Lakeside Theatre’s new production of Darkness a new play by fringe first winning writer Jonathan Lichtenstein. The play is one of Escalator East to Edinburgh’s productions and will be performed throughout the fringe festival at the Zoo Roxy’s loft venue and Josh recently took the time out of his rehearsals on Essex University campus to answer a few questions for us about this project, Doctor Who and his tips on flyering.
Now then Kieran lad!
What can you tell us about Darkness?
It’s a brilliant new play, by a fantastic writer, brought to the stage by visionary director Gari Jones, and features a superb ensemble cast. If I may say so myself!
High Praise! What’s it about?
It’s about a family in Wales, and their relationship with religion and how it affects their relationships with each other. It is quite dark and sinister, as you’d imagine from the title, but has some funny and moving moments which balance it out nicely.
Is it exciting being at the start of a new project?
Absolutely! The source material is brilliant, Jonathan [Lichtenstein] has given us a really strong platform to build on. We were lucky enough to have had a rehearsed reading at Pulse festival a few weeks ago and the positive reaction from the audience has helped fuel the excitement surrounding the project. Also its quite a relevant subject given our ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and things like Harold Camping’s recent predictions about the date of the Rapture.
How are the rehearsals going?
So far very good, we are in the process of getting it up on its feet. I think the cast and I are just enjoying finding the characters and exploring the relationships. We as a cast are getting on great, and the relaxed atmosphere in the room makes the process so much more fulfilling. Whats interesting about the play is that a lot of the fractures in the relationships occur before the start of it and the period in which the piece takes place is when everything comes to a head.
You’ve been to Edinburgh before, how will this trip compare to the last?
It makes me even more excited if I’m honest. Because when I went before I was still a student and I didn’t really know what it was all about, and now I know what to expect I am looking forward to it even more. I managed to see some great things at the Zoo Roxy last time as well and I am now really excited to be performing there myself.
What were the most successful lines you’ve used when flyering?
To be honest we didn’t use lines, we found it was better to stop people and just have a chat, ask them what they’d seen and what they were interested in and then told them about our play. This proved more successful than dishing out cheesy lines or thrusting a flyer into their hand as they walked past.
How does it feel to come from the set of Doctor Who with Matt Smith back into a rehearsal room?
It’s great to be back in the rehearsal room. Obviously on the set of a big TV project like that you don’t get much rehearsal time, whereas now we have three weeks to focus solely on the piece, but working with Matt Smith was brilliant, definitely one of the highlights of my career so far, he’s a tremendous actor and I learnt a lot just by watching him.
What is the best thing you’ve ever seen at the theatre?
It comes down to three things, or three things that stick in the mind – Jerusalum at the Royal Court with Mark Rylance… then At the Pleasance in Edinburgh was Gecko’s The Overcoat and most recently Richard III starring Kevin Spacey and directed by Sam Mendes at the Old Vic, which was epic. And except the fiver I spent on Gecko I saw the others for free!
What made you want to become an actor?
Its all I’ve ever wanted to do, I started at a young age, reading plays and acting in theatre groups and as I’ve got older its never left me. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
What is your favourite film?
This is hard… No its not! I absolutely love films, and my favourite is definitely Saving Private Ryan I could watch that every day and not get bored.
If you could have any part from any play what would it be and where?
I’d love to perform on the Lyttelton Theatre at the National, everything I have seen there has been brilliant, if I could perform one part, well there’s two parts and there’s a bit of a contrast. It’d either be Iago from Othello which I imagine is a popular choice, and Mickey from Blood Brothers which I saw when i was younger, and I just fell in love with the character.
We would like to say a big thank you to Josh for taking the time to answer a few questions and we wish him and the production all the best in Edinburgh and beyond.
Darkness is performed at the Zoo Roxy Loft Venue from 7-29th August (not 15th & 22nd) with previews on 5th & 6th. For more tickets and to book tickets please go to: http://www.darknessatzooroxy.blogspot.com/