Next month, the Arcola Theatre stages Chekhov's first play, Seagull. Roger Lloyd Pack stars as Dorn alongside Geraldine James as Arkadina. We spoke to Roger about theatre, London and John Sullivan, the creator of much-loved sitcom Only Fools And Horses.
Chekhov described The Seagull as "a great deal of conversation about literature, little action, tons of love." Would you say that holds true for this adaptation?
I hope so!
How do you see the recent budget cuts affecting London fringe theatre? If you were an artistic director, how would you react? For example, would you put on more crowd-pleasing fare like Shakespeare or go for something provocative like Clydebourne Park?
Well I'm not sure that Shakespeare is necessarily crowd pleasing, though he should be. And I didn't think Clydebourne Park was so provocative, though an excellent play. If I was an Artistic Director I think I'd gauge the taste of my audience and try and keep them satisfied, while perhaps stretching the boundaries a bit at the same time
We saw you as a villain in Dr Who in 2006 and Dealer's Choice in 2007. You seem to enjoy taking on the darker roles. Would this be a fair observation? Are there any characters you have a yearning to tackle?
Yes I do enjoy taking on darker roles. It gives me an opportunity to explore areas of myself that are a bit more obscure. I'm not an actor who yearns to play specific parts on the whole, but I would like to play Uncle Vanya and King Lear.
What are your first memories of London?
I was raised just off the Fulham Road, near South Kensington, which was a very different place than it is now. My first memories are messing about in bombed out houses and playing in the streets
What do you enjoy most about London? Would you ever live south of the river?
I love the cultural diversity in London. I love the river but I wouldn't consider living south of it, except possibly on it in Barnes or somewhere. But I'm too used to living north of it and I love living near the Heath.
We were sad to hear about Only Fools and Horses creator John Sullivan's passing in April. Do you have a favourite memory of your time working together?
I have so many memories of John over the thirty years of working together. My overriding one is the relish with which he enjoyed watching us bring his characters to life.
DaveRoger will be appearing at the Seagull which runs at the Arcola from Thursday 9 June – Saturday 16 July 2011 at 7:30pm with 2.30pm matinees on 18, 25 June, 2, 9, 16 July.
Tickets are £17 (£11 concessions) with 10 performances at £10 – 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 (mat & evening), 20 June and Pay What You Can Tuesdays.
Please see the Arcola website for more details.