Birmingham Stage Company


9 November 2010

When I was given the role of Ronald Cave and three smaller parts in ONE NIGHT IN NOVEMBER at the Coventry Belgrade I began to wonder during rehearsals if I could disguise myself in the smaller roles without using any facial disguise, just using my voice and a different energy.

One character would be easy - he wears a gas mask! The final character is very similar to my main role and difficult to differentiate without it becoming caricature. But could the local policeman be the one...?


It involves a quick change of costume so no time for anything fancy, but I persuaded the designer to let me paint on a thin moustache - he was doubtful it would would work but no-one can see it's not real - when I tried it in the rehearsal room people thought I hadn't shaved. Most importantly, during the third performance it dawned on me I could make this policeman a lot younger than Ronald Cave and more frightened.

I was also fortunate that the policeman appears almost immediately after Cave has just walked off. Suddenly there's a new character which the audience haven't seen before - a local Coventry policeman.

Then to complete the challenge, in the final part of the scene when I am looking in horror at the burning city in front of me, I walk right to the front of the stage and stare straight into one of the lights - face front-on and fully lit.

To date, two of my closest friends have watched the scene without realising it was me - and I asked my Dad at the weekend what he thought of the policeman....."Who played him?" he asked.....!

The joy of sweet success!

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