TWO people, two plays, one day... it’s been a strange few weeks for Alistair Cope and Kate O’Flynn.
The young actors return to Sheffield’s Crucible Studio in new piece The Sound Of Heavy Rain this week, before returning Lungs, the fast-moving play about having a baby that wowed many in October.
The former runs now until November 26, part of Sheffield Theatres Roundabout Season of three new works in association with Paines Plough, the other being One Day When We Were Young.
Next Thursday and Saturday the public get the chance to see all three plays back to back in one day, a daunting prospect for the pair.
They remain smitten by Duncan MacMillan’s smart and amusing Lungs, which brings into sharp focus numerous questions we should probably all ask before reproducing.
Alastair had some very relevant help in learning his lines for Lungs.
“I’m actually in the middle of this discussion with my wife, but maybe not to the extent of these characters. So, in a sense, it couldn’t have come at a better or worse time.
“There are bits very similar to conversations we’ve had or you have with yourself. I’ve always wanted kids, but now the question has come round.”
Roundabout custom built a wooden amphitheatre for the season. It puts the actors under a microscope with no props or costume change.
“It’s quite liberating a space like that. In some respects you have to try harder, in others you’ve got to trust the simple choices and brilliance of the script and direction.
“There’s a lot of big life talk in there, not heavy, but those questions you need to ask when you’re thinking about having a child: the justification, the impact not just on their lives but environmentally and globally. The rest of your life is going to be affected by having a child.
“It’s an exploration of these two people and it’s kind of a pivotal point in their relationship that you join the play. These two are thinkers and that’s half the battle; they’re both intelligent and conscious of themselves and the space they occupy in the world, which is great but it can be detrimental to your judgement and decision-making.
“It’s a new chapter of their life if they decide to do it. Do you carry on as you are or make that step?
“People don’t talk about it enough – not just about children but life in general. There are lots of big decisions we just take for granted in modern life.”
Lancashire lass Kate, who visited the Crucible as a student, is keen to stress the play isn’t a lecture, however.
“It’s very funny and quite moving at moments,” she says. “It looks at all angles but in an entertaining way. You might overthink it and never get round to it. “It’s also about love in the modern world. There’s a lot of light in it, never too weighty. There are these huge discussions in there – the future, children, the planet – but it’s such a sharp script. It moves so fast.
“There are a lot of plays about the environment but this does it quite cleverly. It’s not in your face. It’s something that opens you up and makes you think. It’s asks quite a lot of the audience; they have to really pay attention.”
Film noir-style detective mystery The Sound Of Heavy Rain is a specially commissioned play by Penelope Skinner. When cabaret singer Foxie O’Hara disappears without a tweet, concerned best friend Maggie enlists P.I. Dabrowski to investigate. But he must delve into the history of the girls’ friendship and soon the real question is not where but “Who is Foxie?”