Writer and director of all-new play, Amazing Grace, interviews one of the play’s stars, John Galloway:
LC: You came into the play reading for Amazing Grace and – I think it’s fair to say – captured the essence of Man Past wonderfully in a very short amount of time. What was it about him that grabbed you?
JG: Truth be told it was my first casual play reading. I remember hearing the play and being very impressed. I thought Man Past had a great part in the play; I kept volunteering myself to read him I think. I read Man Past in a very dead pan fashion at the time and Leo found it funny which was great.
LC: The auditions saw you read for Lockwood and Lockwood only. How was that whole process?
JG: I think most actors (especially at an amateur level) have a natural angle on acting. I imagine Leo could see what angle people usually take and map that to the appropriate role.
LC: Taking a step back from Amazing Grace for a moment, what have you been involved with prior to this project, and what are you most proud of?
JG: I haven’t really been involved in a production like this since school. The project I am most proud of is a production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice I was involved in. I played Lancelot Gobbo. I got some great Elizabethan laughs.
LC: How have you found the rehearsal process to Amazing Grace, and is there anything that you have learned that you would like to carry through to your next project?
JG: I have really enjoyed how we played around with the script in rehearsals. It is a very organic process and the play is a lot more dynamic as a result. I’d definitely like to take that forward.
LC: Man Past is a rather subordinate character, and yet he’s probably the tallest character on stage at any given time. How does the challenge of physicality come into your work with him?
JG: His body language is a lot more important than his stature. He often shrinks himself in order to fit in.
LC: As for the mental side of things, how much of a challenge has it been to get into Man Past’s headspace?
JG: As this is the first time Amazing Grace has been put on, figuring out his head space has been a real challenge.
LC: Man Past has a real bromance with Lockwood. Sometimes this can come across as jocular, other times sentimental. How do you bridge that gap to the audience to instil empathy?
JG: He does get very bro with Lockwood, comes across kind of like the little brother a lot. I think his sentimental moments are similar to that. A bit like the little brother whose parents are arguing but he doesn’t always understand and never likes it. He can be very passive but butts in when he thinks he has something to say.
LC: Do you see much of yourself in Man Past? How much of him do you see in other people?
JG: I do see a bit of myself in man past seeing as I am a little brother myself.
LC: How has the experience been for you, and what do you think people who come to see this play will get out of it?
JG: I’ve really enjoyed working on Amazing Grace. This play has so many great moments. It has lots of depth and some more fun moments too. It is set in the modern day, so for a lot of people who find theatre a bit old fashioned this will be a lot more accessible. I think it will inspire a lot of thought in the audience as well.
LC: What do you plan to do after Amazing Grace is over?
JG: I want to keep on improving and acting.
Catch Amazing Grace at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds, on 28th Sept – 1st October. Book your tickets here.