Q&A: Yanna McIntosh and Richard Clarkin (Speaking In Tongues)

Yanna McIntosh and Richard Clarkin talk about their roles in The Company Theatre’s latest production of Andrew Bovell’s Speaking In Tongues

Cast of Speaking In Tongues: Richard Clarkin, Yanna McIntosh, Jonathan Goad anad Helene Joy.

The Canadian premiere of Australian playwright Andrew Bovell’s Speaking In Tongues opens next week in a new production by The Company Theatre at the Berekley Street Theatre as part of Canadian Stage’s 2012/2013 season. Directed by Philip Riccio, the dramatic thriller follows four marriages as they fall into a mess of sex, lies and neglect after a woman goes missing. Here, we chat with two of the cast members, Yanna McIntosh and Richard Clarkin, about this intriguing production.

Theatromania: Tell us about the characters you play in Speaking In Tongues.

YM: In Part 1, Sonja: tough, strong, but feeling lonely and invisible in her marriage to Leon who she loves. In Part 2 and 3, Valerie: not living in her own skin, scared, brittle, needy.

RC: I play three characters in Speaking In Tongues. Pete is struggling in his marriage. Neil is obsessed by an old love affair that ended without answers. John’s wife doesn’t return home one night and he’s under suspicion. All of these men are in the midst of crisis.

Theatromania: How would you describe this play in a sentence?

YM: A play about the nature of love, betrayal and our personal responsibility to each other. / A dramatic depiction of the butterfly effect, in which the butterflies are secrets and lies.

RC: The play concerns people’s tightrope walk over the emotional abyss with equal doses of deceit, honesty, fear, betrayal, acceptance, and forgiveness.

Theatromania: What are some of the challenges you have encountered during the rehearsal process?

YM: Trying to create two different characters; trying to play scenes with one scene partner while two other scene partners (Helene Joy and Jonathan Goad) play a similar scene at the same time. Focus, throughout a play with so much fragmentation in its structure.

RC: Being brave, taking risks.

Theatromania: Have you learned anything significant from this experience?

YM: We live or die together. Stay connected and don’t give up.

RC: Too early to gauge.

Theatromania: What is unique about The Company Theatre’s approach to putting on a play?

YM: Not sure, really. In truth, it’s not so different from the healthiest working environments. It’s fun, it’s positive, it’s caring, it’s constructive—and that’s what I respond to.

RC: Company Theatre concerns itself with the acting as the centre of theatre making. The rehearsal room is a place for taking risks and finding range in what the actors can bring to the script.

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from this performance?

YM: See question #4. That we live or die together. That if you love someone, you can’t be afraid to touch the darkness, and that you must stay together and not give up as you go through it. That there must be dancing.

RC: Hopefully they’ll be infected by the hard questions and the raw truths that are in there.

See Yanna McIntosh and Richard Clarkin in Speaking In Tongues (October 29 to November 24) at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Visit companytheatre.ca for more information and to buy tickets.


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