Crossing Jerusalem Actor Profile: David Ricardo-Pearce

DAVID RICARDO PEARCEWelcome 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 David Ricardo-Pearce and I play Gideon Kaufmann in Crossing Jerusalem.  He is a graphic designer and in the Israeli army.  Gideon is married to Yael and has a 4 year old daughter.  His wife wants a son but he doesn’t want any more children, or certainly not in the moment with the intifada and being in flux.  He is having serious doubts if he should stay in the Israeli Army or refuse.  Not only is he is to report for duty the following day, it’s also his wife’s 30th birthday.  The entire duration of the play takes place on his wife’s birthday.  All these concerns weigh on Gideon as the play starts.

Gideon has three unique relationships with the women of his life.  Can you elaborate for us?

Gideon’s mother was never around as a kid, so he never had a strong female influence in his life.  It’s a complicated relationship as he does love his mother.  Gideon and his sister are close, almost uncomfortably close at times.  They have a very strong bond but he worries about her the same way all brothers worried about their sisters.

He also has a strangle relationship with his wife in a way.  Yael says, “You’ve never spoken to me about my past in seven years.”  They get on well but he’s a closed book.  I think when we find them in the play they have been growing apart for a long time.  Yael just hasn’t been noticing it.  She doesn’t see him all that much because of the intifada, so much is forgiven in terms in behavior.  I think what we see in the play is a climax in a recent change in behavior, probably the last month or two.  His last tour was in December and the play takes place in March.  Something momentous must have happened when he was on duty that has slowly changed him and made him more distant from his wife.

Rehearsal photo of David Ricardo-Pearce as Gideon Kaufmann (foreground), Andy Lucas as Sammy (back left) & Trudy Weiss as Varda Kaufmann Goldstein (back right) (Photo credit: Habie Schwarz)

Have you ever tackled a heavy subject like this in a play before?

I directed a play recently that was about a relationship between a Jewish father and his son, set on September 11th so that dealt very much with conflict between religions.  The Israel Palestinian is more than that obviously.  That play in terms of that debate of who’s right, who deserves what, who has been treated fairly, it had a similar feel to it.  I did a play about the Irish Republic Army.  It looked at an IRA cell in New York.  There was a lot of debate about terrorism and freedom fighters, and the same age old debate about land.  I suppose working and researching plays like this, you get a wider sense of what people go through in a lot of the world.  We don’t directly deal with many issues like that here in this country.

How are rehearsals with Julia Pascal going?

It’s going great.  It’s been a quick three weeks and we’re at the end of week two.  It’s getting quicker and more intense.  It’s fun.  Julia is really good at letting her actors play, find things, not being too descriptive and being tied down.  She lets you find your journey on your own and guide you through it in her own gentle way.  It feels very open at the moment and hopefully when we open the play it can continue to be quite open and fun.  It’s been enjoyable.

Why should people come see Crossing Jerusalem at Park Theatre?

I think that theatre should be entertaining regardless of what we’re talking about or it’s genre like a musical, ballet, opera.  It needs to engage its audience.  I think the best theatre is one that tackles issues in our world that are universal.  The Israel Palestine conflict is a massive ongoing debate that the entire world is having.  One of the wonderful aspects of Julia’s play is that it’s very even handed.  No one saying that Israel or Palestine is right.  This is what’s happening in this country and these are the debates people are having.

There’s something about what a play can do that’s much harder for a newspaper or documentary can accomplish because it’s putting a certain spotlight on a specific time, person, or area.  Political theatre is crucial for the life of theatre.  If you think about it, that’s how theatre has always been written.  Shakespeare’s plays have always had a political response to what was going on. That’s why people should come to see this play in its purest essence.  Crossing Jerusalem is also very funny with highly dramatic, interesting, screwed up relationships which are all recognizable from real life.  It has a lot of great ingredient in it.


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:
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


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