As part of the King's Head Theatre's Queer Season, Mart Crowley's play For Reasons That Remain Unclear will mark the theatre's headlien production this season.
Crowley's most famous work is the smash-hit gay drama The Boys in the Band - which has recently had a successful run on Broadway - but despite the hype around the Broadway hit, the King's Head Theatre will be home to UK premiere of For Reasons That Remain Unclear.
The play examines complex questions of forgiveness and abuses of power following a chance meeting between Patrick (Simon Haines), a Hollywood screenwriter, and Conrad (Cory Peterson), an older Catholic priest.
Set in a hotel room overlooking the Piazza De Spagna in 1990’s Rome, the play charts their tense, frank exchange over the course of one evening, as it becomes clear that at least one of them is holding back a confession.
And now in an exclusive interview with Attitude, Haines talks about what got him into acting and what it is about this play that he loves to be a part of.
What made you decide to be an actor?
I loved performing as a kid in school. I didn’t do much as a teenager, but Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Oscar Wilde drew me back into that world, and into studying English at Cambridge University... but I ended up spending most of my time at the theatre!
I was lucky enough to get lots of chances to play around putting on shows - I did about 30 productions in three years.
I then went to train at Guildhall School as I naively thought I could make it as an actor… But after graduating from Guildhall, and getting my first few professional jobs, there came a point where it was the thing I was most qualified in and most experienced in... and it’s been easier to go on than to turn back.
What actors or theatre makers have most inspired you?
I love Mark Rylance’s work. Especially the play Jerusalem, which set the bar for me of what theatre and actors can do in terms of moving audiences. It was electrifying and magical.
What’s been the best thing about working on this show so far?
The people. Cory Peterson who I’m playing opposite is phenomenal. I’m loving working with the director, Jessica Lazar.
She’s all about finding the game and the liveness, and that’s what I love most to do as an actor. And then the play... which is an incredible, very personal story by Mart Crowley, who wrote The Boys in the Band.
It’s a profound piece, which has made me think differently about forgiveness and about my life. And I think that’s because Mart writes straight from the heart. It’s so honest and authentic.
Can you tell us a bit more about your character?
He’s a very successful Hollywood screenwriter. He moves in glamorous circles, knows celebrities. He’s got a lot of the things in his life that others would kill for but he’s got secrets.
He completely accepts his sexuality, but he struggles with other things... and with people... to trust, to get close to others - especially the people he really wants to be close to.
What should audiences expect from the show?
Jessica and Adam put it well the other day when they said that The Boys in the Band, For Reasons That Remain Unclear and Mart’s latest play show three different stages of a life. This is a hopeful play about the nature of forgiveness. It’s also about love, and trust. You’ll laugh and you’ll probably cry, and go on a rollercoaster of emotion in between.
Do you think Queer Theatre is having a renaissance at the moment?
Did it ever go away? Certainly, it’s thriving at the King’s Head - this show headlines this year’s fantastic Queer Season here. Maybe I’m being naive or it’s wishful thinking but it feels to me like we’re moving towards a time when there will be good representation of everyone in the mainstream. That’s my hope anyway.
To buy tickets to this unmissable show, visit here.