We interviewed Joseph Langdon, cast member of Bristol Old Vic Young Company’s new show Talon, about what’s going on in the rehearsal room. You might have seen Joseph in Pigeon English which had a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe this summer, and now he’s back in the new Young Company show as a rather sinister Doctor…
Tell us about Talon.
Talon is a brilliant story of loss and wanting that plays with your mind, heart and your soul… with a twist at the end that will have your jaw on the floor.
Tell us about your character, Dr Foster.
My character Dr. Foster is a dark and is a very unorthodox doctor. His goal in life is to ultimately ‘find the human soul’ and put himself at the forefront of world medicine, by any means necessary. He forms a relationship with James, a wealthy young gentleman, so he can get his funding to continue his “work”. He is a self-made man of no class, but is determined to become part of the ‘upper-class’ in society.
How did you feel when you first read Theo Fraser Steele’s script?
When I read Theo Fraser Steele’s script I was hooked. I was asking myself many questions and trying to finish the story in my head before I finished reading the script, but I couldn’t have guessed how it actually ends when I did finish it. It is quite scary, quite trippy and it plays with your mind and emotions. It puts you in this world that makes you question yourself, and tests the limits of what people would go through to get what they want.
How different is this show to Pigeon English?
This play is completely different. In Pigeon English I was in a world that I was familiar to, interacting with characters I had some knowledge of. Talon is the opposite, you’re put into two worlds with strange characters. One with humans but not in a world exactly the same as ours, and one dominated by the birds who are lead by a Raven with god-like traits. It’s when these two worlds start to collide and interact that we start questioning things, and these questions are answered. Pigeon English was a heart-breaking story with loads of light-heartedness. This is a scary play, with no light-heartedness.
What can people expect to see?
You can expect to see choreographed movement and hear beautiful songs, as well as lighting and projection that will make you ask ‘Is this possible?’ There are a few surprises in the show which are going to be hard to pull off but when we do, you won’t believe it. We want to put the audience in a world where anything is possible.
Tell us about the creative team.
We have a very, very strong creative team. Miranda Cromwell (Pigeon English, Hey Diddle Diddle, The Life After) is our Director with Lisa Gregan as Assistant Director. We have Jack Offord (Pigeon English, Messiah at #BRISTOLPROMS) who is charge of our projection for the show and has some brilliant ideas. Our Musical Director is Verity Standen who has been teaching us some fantastic techniques and songs to help us create the world of Talon.
You’ve just done an intensive week of rehearsals. What did you get up to?
In our recent intensive week we have been playing with the style of the piece. Exploring themes and genres such as 1950’s film noir and how we can play with the script. We were trying lifts and looking at different ways of abstracting key moments of the play. We were asking and answering questions such as ‘How much of do we have to show?’ like in Doctor Foster’s experimentation lab; ‘Could we create an image of a caged animals using only sound?’ We finished the week with a lot of these essential questions answered.
What are you most looking forward to in the weeks to come?
I’m most excited about continuing to face the challenges this play has set for us head on, I think we’re going to create a production which will take our audience into a strange parallel world for the duration of Talon. We have been working extremely hard but the process is great. We are having so much fun overcoming these challenges and we have learnt so much. I can’t wait to use what we’ve learnt to wow the audience.
Why should people come see the show?
People should come and watch Talon to 1) Be amazed at what Bristol Old Vic Young Company can do and are doing. 2) Be sat on the edge of their seats the whole time and 3) Be shocked by the exciting end which I guarantee will leave you gobsmacked.
Talon runs at Bristol Old Vic Studio 8-11 Nov. Find out more here.