An interview with AD Ron Reed about THE SEAFARER.
How did The Seafarer come to be in the season?
There is along tradition at Pacific Theatre of many of our best shows coming from people in the Pacific Theatre circle seeing a show somewhere and bringing the script and saying “Ron! You need to do this one!” And this is one of them. David Jennings, who is a long-time attender, the super-fan of Pacific Theatre, came back from New York after having seen The Seafarer and brought me a copy of the script and said “you gotta do this.” When I read it it was clear, he was completely right.
What do you love about the play?
It’s dark, but it’s also screamingly funny. One of those “I can’t believe I’m laughing at this” funny kind of plays. If people want to think of the range it’s in, it’s like In Bruges, or other plays by Martin McDonagh. The language is crude, the characters are coarse, and the humour is in those very things. What makes the play more than just brash and abrasive is that it’s absolutely looking at these events with a spiritual, even supernatural, lens.
Pacific Theatre often builds its season around the artists – how does this play fit in to that method?
We have built our 30th anniversary season, more than ever, around our artists.
We’re bringing back Tim Dixon, who may not be known to this generation of PT audiences, but anybody that goes back 15 years remembers Tim vividly. He was a member of the rep company that we established for three seasons when we first opened at Holy Trinity in 1994.
John Innes was, before PT began, one of the few voices I could find who was a theatre professional and a person of faith. At that time Christians really didn’t go into professional theatre, and that’s where I felt called and John was one of two people I found who knew that world and was encouraging about it. So before PT was conceived he was a significant voice. John and I have wanted to work together for a really long time. He’s a very very mature, substantial actor.
I built the role around those three roles and Anthony F. Ingram directing it. Anthony chose Andrew McNee and John Emmett Tracy to fill the remaining roles on a Friday, confirmed their casting, and on Monday each of them went up to collect their Outstanding Actor Jessie Awards, so I thought ‘alright, we’ve got a cast there.’
It’s the darker colours, it’s brash and audacious, and it’s a showcase for these actors.
And I get to play a blind guy, a drunk guy, and an Irishmen. Three special features!