Geoff Aymer appears in Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running directed by RTST Award winner Nancy Medina.
There’s a controversial new president in the White House, and racial tensions are on the rise. It is Pittsburgh, 1969, and the regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant are struggling to cope with the turbulence of a rapidly changing world. The diner is in threat of being torn down, a casualty of the city’s renovation project that is sweeping away the buildings of a community, but not its spirit.
Two Trains Running opens at Royal & Derngate on 4 September ahead of a UK tour until 27 November 2019.
You’re appearing in Two Trains Running heading out on tour, what can you tell us about it?
It’s the tale of a group of African Americans who frequent a local diner. It’s set against the backdrop of an urban renewal project that’s set to destroy the neighbourhood these people have come to know and love after a period of time. The diner itself is also under threat and the owner Memphis is determined to get a good price from the city if they want to buy it.
It’s set in 1969, but do you think audiences will recognise the modern world in the story?
Yes, there are similar themes of racial inequality and gentrification of urban areas that impacts on the lives of ordinary working folks today.
How would you describe your character in the play?
A very wealthy, materialistic, somewhat tight-fisted individual. Quite closed off but still pining for his late wife who passed away more than two decades ago. He also leads a very solitary existence.
What do you like most about August Wilson’s writing?
He has an ear for how these people talk. It’s very natural but he also manages to infuse this everyday language with poetry and great quotes.
What’s it been like working with director Nancy Medina?
It’s been a very pleasant experience. She is heavily invested emotionally in the story of characters such as these. She really tries to get us to find their voices and search for what it is they are arguing and fighting for.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Two Trains Running?
It’s an epic character study and commentary on how America’s social injustices have impacted on the lives of ordinary people, yet they still have the energy and determination to keep fighting against it.