Emilio Doorgasingh stars in the English language première of Hanya Yanagihara’s critically acclaimed prize-winning novel, A Little Life in the West End.
Ivo Van Hove directs James Norton (Jude), Luke Thompson (Willem), Omari Douglas (JB), Zach Wyatt (Malcolm), Elliot Cowan (Brother Luke/Doctor Traylor/Caleb), Zubin Varla (Harold), Nathalie Armin (Ana), and Emilio Doorgasingh (Andy).
The production opens in the West End at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 30 March, with previews from 25 March, and runs until 18 June, then transfers to the Savoy Theatre for five weeks only from 4th July.
You’re appearing in A Little Life, what can you tell us about this play?
It’s an incredibly powerful adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name. The first English language translation of a previously performed Dutch adaptation by Ivo Van Hove’s company in Amsterdam, Edinburgh and New York.
What were your first impressions when you read the script, and what made you want to be a part of the production?
That it’s a remarkable expression of a flowing river of pain and injustice, an unacceptable abuse of innocence, that is yet underpinned by the belief that love, or the possibility that a sea of love can wash away those iniquities.
Tell us a little more about your character, what are you enjoying most about the role?
Andy is at once an unflappable professional and an emotional mess, at times brusque, at times gentle, who has a deep love for his favourite patient and cause… Jude, in whom he perhaps invests too much, in terms of making him a ‘project for life’: the challenge of saving him from himself, while knowing all along that it is probably an unwinnable challenge.
And what do you think you’ll find most challenging about the role?
Apart from portraying a competent professional practitioner who can deal with severe medical conditions? The greatest challenge is to be both doctor and dear friend to someone who doesn’t want to be helped, who essentially has a death wish.
What’s it like working with Ivo Van Hove?
Ever since seeing ‘A View From A Bridge’ which Ivo directed at The Young Vic, I have longed to work with him. And getting this opportunity now has only surpassed my expectations. I do genuinely think he is an exceptional talent, a sort of genius, in terms of understanding the human condition, and expressing that understanding to an audience.
What would you say to anyone coming to see A Little Life?
Bring a packet of tissues! It’s a difficult, demanding, challenging and emotional piece. If you have a soul, you will smile and cry at its beauty, its pathos, it’s relentless exploration of human faults and failings… but also human strengths. If you want to know what it means to be alive, even if you’re afraid of living, or frightened of dying, then this is a play that will confront those fears, but also confront your curiosity about being alive.