Huw Parmenter stars in the world première of Anything Is Possible If You Think About It Hard Enough written by Cordelia O’Neill and directed by Kate Budgen,
Anything Is Possible If You Think About It Hard Enough, which also stars Gemma Lawrence, opens at Southwark Playhouse on 24 September with previews from 22 September and runs until 9 October.
You’re starring in Anything Is Possible If You Think About It Hard Enough, what can you tell us about the play?
The play is a vivid, tender and thrilling roller coaster that careers through a couple’s journey from a chance encounter towards parenthood. It’s a love story knotted with loss, that examines how we deal with grief and how it tests the ties that bind us together.
It was originally scheduled to run in 2020, why do you think it’s arguably even more timely now?
We’re heading into week two of rehearsal, 18 months after week one was brought to a halt. The world has changed a lot, but the core issues at the heart of Anything Is Possible are as poignant as ever, perhaps more so through the lens of the pandemic. Alex and Rupert have to confront an unforeseeable challenge and the resulting isolation they experience is acutely relatable now.
Tell us a little about your character and how you’ve interpreted the role?
Rupert’s a bit of a paradoxical chap. He’s relatively traditional with a complicated past, particularly in relation to family and what it means to be a parent.
He finds comfort in order, balance and control, making the dramatic events of the play particularly challenging. He starts to unravel, firstly in meeting Alex and secondly through their shared trauma. Through the play we see a man of structure struggling to find the right way through chaos.
What has impressed you the most about Cordelia O’Neill’s writing?
I’ve been a fan of Cordelia O’Neill’s writing for a long time. She has a deft touch when it comes to handling difficult subject matter. She pours light, hope and love into places of darkness which make those shrouded corners of human experience less scary.
Her characters have a real sense of identity and a very clear point of view without being overwritten. In fact there’s an efficiency and pace to her writing which is thrilling to play with as an actor and to hear as an audience.
How do you think the inclusion of humour in the play helps with conversations on a difficult topic?
Without doubt it’s an essential ingredient. It’s tough for an audience to sit through 80 mins of misery, I’m not sure that would serve anything. Finding the light is crucial to understanding the shade isn’t it? The rapid fire repartee between Alex and Rupert provides a lot of this lightness and there’s also some pretty dark comedic moments, just as in life.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Anything Is Possible If You Think About It Hard Enough?
Come and see us! It’s incredibly exciting to be back in a theatre and this play highlights the value and celebrates the power of live performance. We can’t wait to share it with you.