Day when Sheffield theatre actor Sid struck dumb by Benedict Cumberbatch

The young co-star of new Sheffield Crucible Studio play hang said he had to learn the hard way that acting is a tough profession, even when you get the chance to work alongside Benedict Cumberbatch.

Monday, 18th February 2019, 21:37 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 21:47 pm
Sid Sagar in rehearsals for hang at the Crucible Studio

Sid Sagar said he was thrilled to get a bit part on TV in a scene with the Sherlock star. “He was really sweet when we did a run-through for the camera. I forgot my line. I was staring into his eyes and thinking, ‘bloody hell, he’s really good’ and he was very good about it.

“Then my bit got deleted from the final episode! No-one ever tells you before your first TV gig that 99 per cent of what’s shot is not going to make the final cut.”

Luckily, his recent role as a interpreter in the TV newspaper drama Press did make it to the screen and you will see a lot of Sid on stage in Sheffield in new play, hang.

Sid said: “It’s been a very exciting experience. This play was first done at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2015 and this is the first time it’s been produced since its premiere.

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“debbie tucker green is notable for really powerful discussions of justice, power and victimhood. At its simplest level, hang is about a woman who has had a crime committed against her and her family.

It’s set in a world where capital punishment exists. She is being interviewed in order to establish how she wants the perpetrator to be executed. There has been a development in this case and that’s where we start. I’m playing Two, who is one of the interviewers representing the government. 

“At a more profound level, it is about a woman who is the victim of the justice system and trying to navigate her way through the difficulties of bureaucracy. but also about how or whether we can overcome our past transgressions and crimes and injustices.”

Sid said that navigating their way through the play had been exciting for the cast of three and director, Taio Lawson. debbie tucker green doesn’t like using capital letters in her scripts, she doesn’t specify where the action takes place or the details of what’s happened and the three characters are only known by numbers. Two can be played by a man or woman.

“The first time I read the play there aren’t many clues,” said Sid. You go away thinking this is something clearly powerful and at times difficult piece of work. 

“In one sense it stresses the everyday: bureaucracy and small talk and people being bad at their job. When you explore it with the director, you find what’s not said, or small gestures, but they can be a huge interaction and a huge clue as to what’s really going on.”

Sid described his character: “Two is the younger, more inexperienced government official, alongside Marianne (Oldham), who is playing One. He is eager to make an impression. He’s very diligent in certain ways.

“It becomes quite clear that he is completely out of his depth dealing with the character Three. There’s no structure, no training or role play that could have prepared him to deal with someone who has been so broken by the system.

“Two also goes through a journey a journey of trying to get to grips with a really difficult situation. He’s learning on the job. He gets a lesson in how empathy is so valuable, particularly in this context of a search for justice and trying to help people.”

Sid said it was a privilege to do one of debbie tucker green’s plays, adding: “It’s a challenge but a really exciting challenge.”

hang is at the Crucible Studio from February 21 to March 9. Tickets: