Alex Bhat stars in Overruled, part of Shaw Shorts at The Orange Tree Theatre – a double bill of Bernard Shaw’s short plays directed by Artistic Director Paul Miller.
Bernard Shaw wrote more than sixty plays in his lifetime, including Man and Superman, Pygmalion, Saint Joan, Major Barbara, Heartbreak House, and The Doctor’s Dilemma. Shaw was awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The production opens on 26 May, with previews from 22 May, and runs until 26 June. It will be streamed live via OT On Screen on 3 and 4 June. Tickets are on sale here
You’re appearing in Overruled, part of Shaw Shorts, at the Orange Tree Theatre, what can you tell us about this production?
At the root of it it’s a play about people who are in relationships with others and at odds with themselves. Whilst being at odds with others and in relationships with themselves. I think. The production will be super because Paul Miller is our leader and he and his team are incredible.
What are you most looking forward to about being on stage in front of an audience again?
The feel of people watching something together again, the feel of people applauding again (if they do), the feel of people muttering under their breath when they don’t agree with something you’ve said.
Why do you think Shaw Shorts is an ideal production for the return of live theatre?
Because they are short, quite funny and short. And my cast mates are fantastic in them. But to answer that question properly: you probably have to witness them.
Do you feel a certain pressure taking on a role in such a classic piece?
Absolutely I do. No matter how stuffy you found him at school, George Bernard Shaw was a good writer. I feel a great deal of responsibility to overcome my fear of being terrible, say the lines in the order he wrote them, and not fall off any of the furniture. I usually succeed in one of those.
Tell us what measures are in place to keep audiences, cast and crew safe when the show opens?
There are incredibly scientific seating diagrams which Simon Daw, the designer, has mapped out in order to keep every single audience member socially distanced from each other and the cast at all times during the show. It looks like someone had a circle drawing party on a big sheet of paper. The actors are taking lateral flow tests and Jenny Skivens and the entire stage management team have been and will be doing an incredible job of keeping everyone safe. I really wish the audience could see the amazing work everyone behind the scenes at the Orange Tree is doing in order to bring live theatre back. It would make for a fantastic George Bernard Shaw play.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking tickets to Shaw Shorts?
Do it when you’re ready. But if you’re ready, do it.