Surgent Theatre’s production of Steven Dietz’s Lonely Planet is to open at Trafalgar Studio 2 in the run up to London’s iconic Pride parade. The play originally premièred in the US at the Northlight Theatre, Illinois in 1993 and this production made its UK première at the Tabard Theatre last year.

Ian Brown returns to direct Alexander McMorran (Jody) and Aaron Vodovoz (Carl) for this strictly limited run from 12th June until 7th July 2018.

We spoke to Alexander McMorran to find out more.

You’re starring in Lonely Planet which is returning to London after its UK Premier last year, what can you tell us about it?

Lonely Planet is a beautifully written play about the friendship of two very different men, and how they help each otherdeal with the fear, grief and rage of struggling to survive the AIDS crisis.

When you were performing it at The Tabard did you ever imagine it would transfer to Trafalgar Studios?

There are some fringe plays I’ve been in that I can’t wait to be over, and others that I know I’ll miss. Lonely Planet was a perfect storm where everything from the script to the director to the designers and, of course, Aaron Vodovoz, my partner-in-crime and castmate, came together magically. I knew that it deserved to transfer and be seen by more people!

What do you like most and least about your character, Jody?

I love Jody’s passion for his particular preoccupation, cartography. I find it fascinating when people are obsessed by an arcane subject. I’m frustrated by his fear, and how he runs away from his problems instead of facing them head on. It’s possible I sometimes do the same thing…

Jody is very different to the other character in Lonely Planet, how do you stop yourself getting carried away by Aaron Vodovoz’s excitable, Carl?

Aaron embodies Carl’s zany energy so wonderfully, especially during his flights of fancy and shaggy dog stories, but when I’m wearing Jody’s shoes and living in that time of angst and paranoia, Carl’s manic extroversion helps to drive me further into my protective shell.

Can we expect to see any changes since last year’s production?

The biggest change is that the Trafalgar has audience on three sides, so we’ve had to re-block the play, as well as have a beautiful new set. It’s also a real treat to get to revisit Steven Dietz’ nuanced and layered writing; we’re always discovering new insights about the characters and the situation, so having another full three-week rehearsal period has been wonderful.

How do you and Aaron keep yourselves motivated backstage during the run?

This play is full-on! Aaron and I are onstage for the entire thing, barring one five-minute break each while the other has a monologue. So the motivation takes care of itself.

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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