'If we don't get lost, how can we find a new route?'
Imagine older actors in their 70s and 80s, actors who have spent their lives being other people, bringing life to other people's words. Imagine they were on stage with nothing but themselves and no words but their own. No script, no map, a different show every night, all they have is a lifetime of theatre to help them find their way.
This is the central theme of Lost Without Words, a National Theatre production that will run from March 4th to March 18th.
In the words of Director Phelim McDermott:
"I bumped into Trevor Peacock, an older actor who I used to go and see when I was a young boy at the Royal Exchange – I saw him in Waiting for Godot with Max Wall and he was one of those actors who was an inspiration to me as a performer. And I saw him sitting on this bench outside a café. We got chatting and talked about theatre, and he said, 'I can't do theatre anymore, I wouldn't get past “To be or....'"
"He was basically talking about not being confident about going on stage anymore. And as well as that encounter, there were lots of stories in the press popping up about older actors, for different reasons, not going on stage anymore. Of course, part of that is having no energy for big parts and big plays."
"I went to Lee our co-director and said, 'This is crazy, we've been teaching people improvisation for 25 years and if people can't go on stage with scripts, then they should go on stage without a script'. The idea that we'd got a chance of doing that with some incredibly experienced older actors who aren't going on stage as much as they could or should, seemed like a very exciting prospect. When we put it to the board it was actually Stephen Daldry who said 'you could call it Lost Without Words'".
The production has given newfound confidence to the older actors involved, many of whom have never improvised in this way before. Performer Charles Kay stated, "Often I get so nervous in rehearsals but here I haven't been nervous at all because there's nothing to be nervous about. There's no script I'm supposed to get right".
To find out more about the show including where to buy tickets click here.