Walking into Mumford Arts Centre, I got a sneak peak of Stage Society’s most recent production, Accidental Death of an Anarchist. With intermittent piano playing and only 9 hours left of rehearsals until the show, the cast and crew were putting in final touches to wow audiences next week.
Hello directing-duo Tess Kerr and Emily Buckland, tell us a little about what the show is all about…
Accidental Death of an Anarchist is an award-winning comedy by Dario Fo. In short, a bomb goes off in a bank and the notoriously fascist police bring in some left-wing anarchists. During questioning, one mysteriously falls out of a window. Three weeks later, a ‘maniac’, brought in for questioning at that very same police headquarters, decides to have a little fun of his own and manipulate the police in to revealing what truly happened. It sounds serious, but it’s a very slapstick and light-hearted comedy and only becomes more outrageous as it goes on.
Why did you chose to direct this play in particular?
As this is our first time directing for Stage Society, we wanted something challenging but fun to do because we really haven’t ever tried anything like this before. This show is all about the laughs, and is so enjoyable to watch come together in front of us. Stage doesn’t often take on comedic plays, and we think that Accidental Death of an Anarchist provides something different to the usual thing audiences see, which makes it a really interesting choice.
As first-time directors, how would you describe your experience so far?
At the start of the experience everything was as much exciting as it was daunting, but luckily because this show is so entertaining it never stops being fun for us. We’ve definitely learnt a lot over the past 3 months and as drama students, its given us valuable experience to build on for our future careers. Initially, we put forward to direct One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and looking back on it I think that would have been much more of a challenge because its so serious by comparison to Accidental Death of an Anarchist. With this show, we got to experiment more with characters and acting styles and we feel that we’ve hit the nail on the head with the cast, which is always a bonus.
So, you’d say rehearsals are going well?
We’ve mainly tried to make them as fun for the cast as possible and give them as much freedom to make characters their own. Because the cast is quite small, its also great that we have all gotten to know each other really well – which isn’t always the case with bigger productions – so because of that friendship between everyone it’s been a really enjoyable experience. Now it’s only a week left till curtain, so we’ve started to crack the whip more to polish off the show to the best standard it can be. It’s really rewarding to start with nothing and end up with something that, at least we think, is amazing. We can’t wait for people to finally see it and laugh their heads of with us!
After a chat with the directors, I wanted to see how some cast members – Molly, Jenna and Bradley – felt about the show.
Why did you audition?
Jenna & Molly: We have never been in a stage production before but heard through friends that it was happening, and it sounded like the perfect way to have fun and gain experience. We also were looking to try and get involved with the society in some way, and when this opportunity presented itself we just couldn’t say no!
Bradley: I’ve been involved with stage for a long time now, but mainly I direct or act in musicals. I thought this would be a good way to get involved with a smaller production and meet new people with different acting interests.
Why do you think this show is a good one for people to see?
Well for starters there’s definitely a guaranteed laugh for everyone in there. The majority of the humour is also quite surprising for a student production as well, because it is linked with more serious issues such as fascism and racism so that can be difficult to combine. It definitely has gone pretty seamlessly on that front though we have to say.
What is the most exciting part of the show for you?
Well, two things stick out. First, the friendships we’ve all created throughout the show. Because it’s a smaller production, everyone has gotten really close and there’s a mutual respect all round which is a bonus. We even did a full week of rehearsals during Easter to get to know each other better! But, most of all, I’d say the most exciting part for us in the show itself is when Bradley has to improvise a terrible, completely unfunny joke in one of the scenes. Nobody knows what he might say, so it challenges him and us at the same time and always keeps the performances fresh and interesting for our audiences.
When is it on, and how do I get tickets?
The show is running on Thursday May 12th and Friday May 13th next week. Tickets are £5 NUS and £8 non-NUS, and you can buy them online here.
You can also reserve tickets by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
And make sure to join the Facebook event page for more information.
Look forward to seeing the show guys!