‘In Conversation’ at the Old Vic Theatre

On Tuesday, 2nd September, the Old Vic Theatre hosted an “In Conversation” between Richard and critic Matt Wolf to discuss The Crucible.  Here is a transcript of their live-tweeting (they will also put together a Storify soon to put all the tweets together):

Matt Wolf: How has the production progressed since the first preview? #AskArmitage

RA: it’s hard to know as we have gone along together, but we have definitely gone much deeper into the play #AskArmitage

 

MW: How did you come to the decision to take the role? #AskArmitage

RA: a combination of things: the right time, theatre, director, configuration. We really wanted to make an event, which I think it has been

 

MW: What was it like already having the play as part of your repertoire having studied it at drama school? #AskArmitage

RA: it was a chance to go deeper into the role. Meeting with Yael, I said the part makes me want to burn the flesh from my body and…

and I don’t know if I can do it. Yael said we would go into it and explore it together #AskArmitage 2/2

 

MW: How did you go about finding your voice for this production of #TheCrucible? #AskArmitage

RA:

 

MW: What was it about being in the round that was important to you? #AskArmitage

RA: much of my work at drama school was in the round. The audience feels much more part of it in the round #AskArmitage

 

MW: Tell us a bit about what it’s like to have the audience so close? #AskArmitage

RA: I like the fact that audience feel they can really react to what’s on stage. You can’t be distracted but it creates electric atmosphere

 

MW: On matinée days how do you deliver two intense performances? #AskArmitage

RA: You have to plan your day, we all warm up together and take it step by step #AskArmitage

RA: you try to save energy, but you have to let the play take you over completely and take it step by step #AskArmitage

 

MW: Did you go to New England to get a feel for Salem and the place of the play? #AskArmitage

RA: I did. It allowed me to programme sense memories of places I would never normally see. I saw Proctor’s house… #AskArmitage and other key places and pieces that appear in the play. It felt important #AskArmitage

 

MW: How do you make John Proctor a 3D character rather than merely a symbol? #AskArmitage

RA: They had very hard lives which we needed to connect with. I worked a couple of days in farms in Massachusetts and had those experiences

 

MW: #TheCrucible is an allegory for McCarthyism but also for right now – what resonances did you find? #AskArmitage

RA: Miller knew that the play would resonate and continued to be performed #AskArmitage

RA: I have had letters from people from all over the world who have felt this oppression first hand #AskArmitage

 

MW: Did you reference these resonances in rehearsal? #AskArmitage

RA: We each used different, personal resonances and experiences in our performances. Yael’s experiences also shaped the play #AskArmitage

 

MW: Going into the final performances do you feel a sadness? How will you feel on 13th Sept? #AskArmitage

MW: After performing such an intense role would you consider a comedy or a musical next? #AskArmitage

RA: We all put a lot of energy into the play and have bonded as a cast who all continue to give their all in the coming shows #AskArmitage

 

MW: After such a long run how do you leave John Proctor behind? #AskArmitage

RA: It’s a strange process trying to leave the character at the end of the night. Washing off the blood at the end of the performance even… is a bit part of it. But it is hard to leave him completely as you have to perform again the next night! #AskArmitage

 

MW: Do you listen to music to help focus you? #AskArmitage

RA: I do. I listen to a composer called David Darling #AskArmitage

 

MW: Do you have a pre-show ritual? #AskArmitage

RA: Warming up. I’ve found myself in a ritual, spending some time alone in th dark to compose and get into character beforehand #AskArmitage

 

MW: After 13 years away from the stage what is it like to renter that discipline? #AskArmitage

RA: I don’t feel the same kind of fear, I feel adrenaline rising. When I fear Betty’s scream before going on…

RA: *hear … Stage, the fear created propels me on into my performance #AskArmitage

 

That was Matt Wolf, theatre journalist, in conversation with @RCArmitage. Thanks for following! #AskArmitage
———-
@FilmandTVnow were also at the event and were live-tweeting. Here are their tweets with some interesting tidbits:
We are poised and ready for Richard Armitage in conversation event.
Our editor will be tweeting as much as possible. #AskArmitage
A camera is set up and two red chairs ready for the question and answer session. #AskArmitage
Mr Armitage has taken his seat. #AskArmitage
Armitage: “I’m sorry we are in the final two weeks of our play now.” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “I was shocked that it has been 13 years since I was last on stage!” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “I had a carrot stuck in my throat from Elizabeth Proctor’s dodgy stew during a matinee.” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “When my wife is taken in the play, I feel it in my knees, stomach and bowels, not my head.” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “I mucked out cows in Salem to help get into character.” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “I do feel run through by the end of a show, but the job’s not done, we can still go further.” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “a musical or comedy next? Not a musical! ” #AskArmitage
Armitage on greeting fans: “I feel bewildered. I hear voices when I’m at the stage door, but Proctor is still in my head.” #AskArmitage
Armitage: “I’ve vomited in Act 4,I’ve passed water in Act 4,I don’t tend to each too much because it finds it’s way back again! #AskArmitage