We sat down with some of our brilliant cast and crew prior to our production of "Reading Gaol" which starts next week! We'd love to take this opportunity to introduce you to James Bowen prior to taking on the role of the ever so slightly unhinged "Monster" and asked him some leading questions about his role, his life as an actor, and some random wildcards to see how he'd cope with some tough questioning!
1) How would your friends introduce you? Hopefully as James...
2) Tell us a bit about your character and what you like most about them?
"Monster" is an enigma of a human; what I enjoy most is his detachment from any emotional spectrum. I enjoy the "psychopathic" role: the research I've done has brought these new, intuitive choices that are hopefully quite playful - finding new ways to upset an audience sounds wrong - but...
3) What is it that you like most about Reading Gaol and why do you think people should buy a ticket?
I like the dual narratives: without giving too much away, the links between the poem and the stories being told are becoming more clear to me. I think the underlying message of the piece grows as the piece develops, rather than being "spoon fed" which I think is important. Audiences will connect in some way to the stories, though hopefully not mine so much.
4) If you could play any role yet that you haven’t what would it be and why?
Christopher in Curious Incident. I vividly remember reading the book in about 4 nights. Incredible writing which translated so well onto stage.
5) What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Be Selfish. Not in a rude way(!) - more for self-preservation.
6) If you could swap lives with someone for the day who would it be and why?
Gregory Porter or if he's too busy, Jez Butterworth - just to know how they do it?
7) What scares you and excites you most about acting?
Scares: Performing as a character that I find too much of myself in or being "lazy".
Excites: Holding an audience's attention - even for just a bit.
8) What's the most challenging thing you've done on stage that you're most proud of?
"We Had a Black Dog", definitely. To try and portray mental health and its effects on individuals and those around them is really f*cking hard. Being able to add a voice to that conversation felt really empowering.
9) If you were president for a day, what three laws would you enact?
Destruction of all nuclear deterrents, a ban on all future presidents coming from an Entertainment background (boring is best), and monthly 'Attenborough' day. He might not be around much longer so it's important he knows he's loved...
10) What three luxury items would you take to a desert island?
I am going for very pragmatic choices, hopefully. A flint, because I have not watched enough 'Bear Grylls'; a machete, and a recently - tuned piano.
James is an actor and lives in Egham, Surrey, and originates the role of "Monster" in Reading Gaol" this November. If he asks you to play Backgammon then you should probably be very, very scared. You can follow James on Twitter @jvbowen1. You can also follow Proforca on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @ProforcaTheatre and via our website at www.proforca.co.uk.
"Reading Gaol" is being performed on November 2nd - 4th 2017 at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre. Tickets are available now and can be found at our website at www.proforca.co.uk/boxoffice or via www.lionandunicorntheatre.co.uk