Nicholas Denton tells us about finding his character, Andrew, in Wild.
What attracted you to the role of Andrew?
I was initially asked to come in as an audition reader for the play a few months back, it hadn’t crossed my mind that I would actually audition for the role of Andrew, but with Wild being loosely based on the Snowden events, my ears and interest instantly pricked up. I was given the script, had a read, and loved it; great writing that really seemed to lift off the page, an incredible ending and this potent feeling of discomfort that filtered through the play. I had never read anything like it.
I saw the job as an opportunity to investigate what happens to a person’s psyche when they are catapulted from average Joe one day, to the most recognised/loved/hated person on the planet the next. I am fascinated by the ins-and-outs of the internet; what is does to people’s minds and how it affects how we live and perceive the world. I shouldn’t say that this play is all about the internet, because it isn’t. It’s about much more. It’s about power and control. It explores whether its easier to live in a world where your identity becomes a commodity, or in one where we fight against that, stand up to power and fight for our rights. But more so, it asks us is it really worth it? Does anyone really care if we stand up and fight? And if we do? What are the consequences?
What were your first impressions of the play and what compelled you to say ‘yes’ to this production?
I think there were two reasons. Firstly, I have always wanted to work with Dean Bryant. I auditioned for him a few years ago for Skylight at MTC, and saw how invested he was in his projects, even just from our few encounters in the audition process; I saw his attention to detail, his love for the writer and his commitment to the project
Secondly, Wild is a fascinating piece of writing. It’s relevant, it’s tragic and it’s thrilling. It’s a piece that shows a raw and honest side to the delirium that is living under the guise of the internet. It’s a show that doesn’t preach or tell you how to live your life, it just puts the information in front of you. It treats its audience as emotionally intelligent people, people who don’t need to be told what to do, what to think or how to feel. I love that kind of theatre. And I think with the questions posed in this play, having autonomy and a chance to think what we want. It’s a very timely and important piece.
Tell us about some of the challenges and triumphs so far.
The play is dense. It’s full of a lot of ideas, a lot of battles between characters, and the battles within those character’s minds. I didn’t expect this to be a walk in the park. I don’t really think anything is, but the cast and crew have taken the challenge with great gusto. And when it moves, it feels alive, funny, gripping and even slightly sexy.
We have some wonderful people on this show, Anna Lise, Toby and Dean have been incredibly good to me, as has everyone in the room. It is some of the best learning I have had to date in terms of studying a text, and coming in each day is an absolute joy. It’s hard yes, but it’s worth it. And I cant wait to get this one in front of an audience.
Wild plays at Southbank Theatre from 5 May.