Alex Blackie returns to the PLOS stage today as beekeeper Roland, in Nick Payne’s award-winning play, Constellations. We caught up with him hours before curtain up…
Q: What’s in like being involved in a production where there are only two actors?
It’s been great! I think that this is due mainly to the natural chemistry Emily and I had on stage and in rehearsals with Alex, our director.
Yes, at times it can be a little daunting, but with such a small cast the whole production turns into this bubble where the lines become second nature and you are able to take risks and try different ways of telling the story. And what a story Constellations is to tell!
Q: How does it compare to being in a show with a larger cast?
It’s just as manic. But it’ s also just as fun. The main difference, I suppose is the rehearsals. Now I’m a big fan of a glitzy musical, nothing quite like it, but when there’s 30 of you in a cast, there is so much to do and so many dances, songs and blocking etc to learn, time is at a premium so you aren’t necessarily able to try out different things. Although our rehearsal process was only 6 weeks long, because it was just Me, Emily and Alex we were able to take our time and experiment with what works and what doesn’t. Also the lack of choreography made it A LOT easier… for me anyway!
Q: What’s been the aspect you’ve enjoyed most about the production process?
That’s a tough one, it’s all been really enjoyable! When we started running the show as a whole, without scripts in hand was a definite highlight.
But I suppose overall it was how easily we all got on. Only the one squabble: who ate the last Fruit Pastille? (the Constellations rehearsal snack of choice)
Q: Tell us more about your character, Roland.
Well he’s a beekeeper! So, he knows a lot about our honey making friends! But his knowledge of the life and times of bees only scratches the surface of who he is.
Roland isn’t perfect. Far from it, in a way he’s awkward, doesn’t always have exactly the right words to hand and appropriately (given his profession) bumbling. But all of this only adds to his charm, he thinks with his heart much more than his head and is a fan of bold gestures. In some ways similar to Marianne, in others the complete opposite but as the old saying goes “opposites attract”. Well in some universes they do.
Q: How do you think audiences are going to react?
I think they’ll really enjoy it. Nick Payne’s writing is so true to life and he’s created characters so endearingly imperfect that you can’t help but want the best for them. And because of the multiverse and the infinite possibilities it brings, sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t.
There’s bees, there’s science and there’s laughs. They’ll be hooked from the first scene. Just like I was.
Q: What one word best sums up the show?
- Constellations is playing at Landor Space, Landor Road, Clapham SW9 from Tuesday 27 – Saturday 3 March. CLICK HERE for tickets.