Crossing Jerusalem Actor Profile: Andy Lucas

Andy Lucas as SAMMY

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

Photos from St. Joan, London 2015

 

Juliet Dante, Rachel Harper und Samantha Pearl, in Aktion beim Theaterstueck “St Joan” von Julia Pascal, aufgenommen am Freitag, 22. Mai 2015, im Gasometer in Triesen. Regie fuehrte die Liechtensteinerin Katrin Hilbe. Foto & Copyright: Eddy Risch

Crossing Jerusalem Actor Profile: Waleed Elgadi

Waleed Elgadi as YUSUF KHALLIL

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 Waleed Elgadi and I play Yusuf Khallilin Crossing Jerusalem.

To describe him he is the acting patriarch of the Khallil family.  He is the only source of income for the family as his father is sick and elderly, and he tries to be the guiding figure for his younger brother. As the play progresses, Yusuf discovers that the other family in the play were the employers of his father when he was a young child.  He’s quite an aspirational person. He wants to be educated. He wants his brother, Sharif, to be educated. Yusuf has street smarts but has decided not to go down the same route as his brother. He is perhaps jaded by all the death he has seen and has decided to play the role of the dutiful son. He therefore does things very much by the book and can sometimes see the world only in black or white.  He doesn’t see violence or conflict as a solution to his living situation.

Besides being the eldest of 5 siblings, there is a 14 year age gap between your character and Sharif.  What kind of strain does that put on the relationship between the brothers?

I think Sharif, being the baby of the family, does adopt him as a father figure. One of the great tragedies for these two is that Yusuf takes the stance of an authoritative figure instead of being a friend to his younger brother. He tries too hard to be the father, mother, everything for Sharif and consequently comes off as ancient in Sharif’s eyes. With Sharif full of the anger or hot headedness of youth Yusuf becomes a stereotype to him, someone he can’t relate to.

How are rehearsals going so far?

It’s been a really fun process so far.  Everything’s been going very well, I don’t want to jinx it! Its a luxury having a director that’s also the writer in the room. Often, when the writer isn’t present, you’re scared as an actor to change the words because you don’t want to cause offense. We can discuss topics, the process is open and free and we’re allowed to experiment. From the table read it was obvious that we were in a good place.  Everyone came with a solid bag of tricks and knew what they were doing and had a good idea of who the characters are. I think Julia Pascal has a great cast but then again I’m biased!

The big question, why should people come see Crossing Jerusalem?

You should come because it’s more than a piece of theatre about the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.  It’s about families, about dysfunction, about how one lives within the backdrop of this conflict.  It’s a great piece of drama but it also has some comedic parts to it.  There are a couple of characters that are very funny and we’ll have some laugh out loud moments throughout the piece.  But you should come see it because it’s a really good piece of writing.  It’s a passionate play which is quite indicative of the region.

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