Emily McGowan: What do you and your character Frank (your character in Educating Rita) have in common and what sets you both apart?
David Jeffrey: We’re both mad, I currently have too much hair on my head and I do like going to the pub, though I seldom get to enjoy this pleasure. The obvious difference between us is that Frank loves poetry and I love plays.
Tell us how Frank would spend his day if he could do anything, no expenses spared?
Frank would take Rita by the hand and time travel back to late 18th century London to invite William Blake for a pint at the Lamb & Flag.
I have hired you a private 3 hat Michelin chef for the night, what do you ask them to make you and why?
Love my classics. Shrimp Cocktail, Duck a l’Orange, followed by Baked Alaska.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have found working on Educating Rita?
Knowing what scene is coming next. Sounds simple but not in this play.
If you were an animal what would you be?
A Blue Dragon.
David Jeffrey: What do you like the most and the least about your character Rita in Educating Rita?
Emily McGowan: What I like the most about Rita is her heart. She is passionate about justice – she loves people! I love that she isn’t crippled or trapped by her inequities, but rather, she is a go-getter and takes every opportunity. Something I don’t like about Rita is that she can sometimes be a bit clueless, I often feel like saying “Come on girl! Screw your head on.” But really she is hard not to love.
If you could live and work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
This is a hard one as I have two bucket list places (in which I have never been to). It would be either Paris or New York. Both places seem to steam with possibility and culture – quite different ends of the spectrum, and they both embrace art so much. Paris might win though as I am addicted to croissants.
How do the challenges Rita faces to become ‘educated’ compare to your own life challenges to date?
I think Rita gets put in a box by many of the people around her – they label her as simple and at times stupid. Frank however believes in her and unlocks those boxes, showing her that if she puts her mind to it she can be educated. I had a teacher in high school, who very similarly believed in me and empowered me to case my dreams
You produce your own work as well as act. How does that work for you?
It’s great! Honestly, you can’t just sit around and wait for other people to hand you opportunities on a silver platter. I think being able to create a piece and bring people together really empowers me – more people should try. My big thing is don’t micro manage. I have my skill sets, you have yours. I’m not going to tell you how to do a job I know nothing about. But that is why I love making theatre so much, collaborating as a creative team is such a rewarding experience.
You’ve just been told you will become deaf and blind in 24 hours time. What do you do?
That’d be a nightmare! Spend all that time with my family, locking into the memory bank what they look and sound like.
David Jeffrey and Emily McGowan are appearing in Educating Rita by Willy Russell.
Dates: 10 – 20 May, 2017
Venue: The Depot Theatre