Welcome to an eight part interview series featuring the cast members of Crossing Jerusalem. Check back daily for the next installment.
Introduce yourself and tell us about your character in Crossing Jerusalem.
My name is Andy Lucas and I’m playing Sammy in Crossing Jerusalem. As far as my character goes, I get the feeling I’m the United Nations in this place. I’m the buffer zone between the Jews and the Muslims, which is a double edged sword. I get shit from both sides and I get joy from both sides.
Can you relate to your Sammy character at all?
I’m a Libra, that’s my star sign. Libras likes to have a balance in life and see justice be done. Consequently to Sammy, it’s frustrating that there is no justice in this situation. In the play, there’s a confrontation between a family of Jews and a Muslim waiter. They discuss how far back one goes. How far back do you go before you realize somebody has a right to something you own? So I can relate to Sammy being frustrated and not being to help. I can also relate to Sammy just wanting a peaceful and quiet life. Not being religious or overtly political, because that way lies illumination.
Sammy’s restaurant seems to be one of the few constants in Jerusalem. Can you elaborate more about Sammy’s importance to this society?
Both Alistair Toovey and Waleed Elgadi say something very similar in the play. No matter what goes on, no matter who’s in charge, you always seem to survive. There’s two ways to look at it. You can either be the vulture that survives on carrying after the bloodbath, or you can look upon it as being the water carrier, being someone that facilitates people being able to live together. There are only two professions that you can’t do without. One is a funeral director and the other someone that makes and sells food. You need to eat. Luckily for Sammy, he has chosen the restaurant side and not the funeral side.
How has working under renowned writer and director Julia Pascal?
I think through her we’ve done amazing well since it’s been the 5th day of rehearsals. We’re going to have what we call a ‘stagger through’ which is a run very early in the rehearsal process. I think we all have done remarkably well. I think Alistair mentioned that it’s both a privilege and a boom to have the writer and director in the room at the same time. That’s not always the situation. Sometimes the case is that you can’t criticize the writing because the writer isn’t there, and then you can’t complain about the directing to the writer because they’re one in the same person. Julia has been amazingly generous and complimentary.
Why should people see Crossing Jerusalem at Park Theatre?
Good question since you’re going to spend good money to see something that can be harrowing at times. It’s quite sad at certain moments. I think the reason I chose to do this is because, the way Julia wrote it, it’s very even handed. She bad mouths and praises Jews, Muslims, and Christians. She gives a balanced account of what it must feel like being surrounded by death every day. God forbid we have a terrorist attack and live traumatized for the next 10 years, but these people live it every single day of their lives. I can’t imagine how it must be like.
I think the reason why I’d like people to experience Crossing Jerusalem is to see what life’s like, but to think, “Can I offer some solution?” “Can I help in the way I approach things?” “Can I not look at everybody who has a different opinion as me like a gorilla or a terrorist?” “Can I not put everybody down who’s a different generation to me?” “Can I understand that?” Maybe if all did that we might have less war, war, war, and more jaw, jaw, jaw.
Crossing Jerusalem – Written and Directed by Julia Pascal
Synopsis: Set during the 2002 intifada, and just before the invasion of Iraq, Crossing Jerusalem is a potent and dynamic exploration of the theatre of war. The play describes 24 hours in the life of an Israeli family who cross Jerusalem to eat in an Arab village. In the course of a single day Arab and Jewish histories burst into the present in the most politically tense city in the world.
Venue & Address: Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Telephone booking number: 020 7870 6876
Booking website: www.parktheatre.co.uk
Direct link to book tickets online click here
Opening and closing dates: Dates: Tues 4 August – Sat 29 August 2015 (Preview 4th and 5th August)
Times: 7.45pm Tues – Sat / Thu & Sat Matinees 3.15pm
Prices: £12.50 Previews / £18 Full / £15 Concessions /
£12.50 Tuesdays Residents with N.London postcode or Under 25s