Thursday, 1 September 2011

South Pacific at The Barbican & Cast Interview - Part 1

Welcome back to Access London and thank you once again for your continued support for disability access and awareness in the Capital.

Today's post looks at the Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, South Pacific, currently playing at the London Barbican before going on a UK tour. The show is at The Barbican until the 1st October. After that it will tour the UK and currently has shows booked in Milton Keynes, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Oxford and Southampton.

Whilst at The Barbican, South Pacific is showing on Monday-Saturday evenings and has matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday.

The Barbican is completely accessible to those using a wheelchair or mobility scooter. However, it is a large venue and so for those who find walking difficult, The Barbican does have three wheelchairs for visitors' use, subject to availability; these can be pre-booked by calling the Box Office on 020 7638 8891. The main entrance on Silk Street is ramped and has lifts nearby, allowing access to all levels within the Barbican.

An induction loop is provided in the Concert Hall and Cinema. Visitors with hearing aids can make use of this facility by switching their hearing aid to the 'T' position. A radio network system is provided in the Theatre and Pit - visitors with hearing impairments may benefit from this facility. Headsets can be collected from Theatre Stalls Right prior to performance.

Assistance dogs may be taken into the auditoria or left with a member of staff. Adapted WCs are provided on Levels -2, -1, G, 1, 2, 3 & 4.

The Barbican also has its own Access Membership Scheme - this allows those with disabilities to register your requirements for free so that your needs can be met. The scheme also entitles you to the fantastic Access Rate tickets for shows (the current Access Rate for South Pacific is £7.50 each for a disabled guest and their companion!!). You can also pre-book a blue badge car parking space at The Barbican and park for free - to do this, book your space with the box office on 020 7638 8891 and when you arrive at the theatre, take your show ticket to the box office and they will provide you with a free exit ticket for the car park. To book tickets and find out more about the Access Membership Scheme please visit THE BARBICAN WEBSITE

South Pacific itself is a fabulous show with a beautiful score and an extremely talented cast, including several cast members from the US Tony Award winning show - reinvented for British audiences, this show is a must-see either at The Barbican or on its UK tour later this year and into 2012.

As promised in previous posts, Access London is delighted to bring you an interview with one of South Pacific's cast, Nick Wyschna. Access London would like to take this opportunity to once again say a huge Thank You to Nick for taking time out to answer some questions. Nick's interview will be shared in two parts, so here we go with the first.....

AL: How has it been to work with Paulo (Szot) and Loretta (Ables Sayre) and has it been helpful for you all to be working with them as they have done this show before?
NW: Well we did the first week, week and a half, without them because they were doing other things. I think Loretta was working in Hawaii and Paulo was doing an opera somewhere else, so we didn't have them for the first week and a half. We were learning the show on our own and then they turned up, and obviously they know the show very well, and they are phenomenal. It didn't make it harder at all as their knowledge helped the rest of the cast learn the show to a more broader depth.

AL: That's great! So they were a real support for you all?
NW: Absolutely. I mean, to learn the show from scratch is hard anyway and also exciting but having someone there that's already done it and is happy to reinvent their show - because they're so open - they're not playing the same shows they did on Broadway. That's what Bart, the Director, wanted - they're not precious about it at all, they will work with the new cast, this is a brand new production of it.

AL: That's really good to hear...
NW: Yeah, it's nice because we were all worried about that because they've already done it and with Bart aswell - Bart's directed it twice now, on Broadway and on the US tour. The first day he said 'this is not the same production, this is a reinvention of the same show', and he's stuck to that.

AL: A production for the UK then?
NW: Absolutely, yes. The body of it is the same but you've got different actors and they do it in different ways. I think that's very important for Bart to keep and for Paulo and Loretta to reinvent it.

AL: Yes, they need to make sure they kept it fresh?
NW: Definitely, and they have done - they've kept to their word for sure.

AL: How did you get involved with the show and land a part in it?
NW: My agent. This show has been spoken about for a while and it's been on and off kind of thing but they were seeing everyone in this industry, so many wanted a part in this so I think I did maybe 6 rounds. But I've got an agent, a manager, who puts me up for these closed auditions and they just whittle you down slowly so, a couple of dance calls, a couple of singing calls. We found out quite quickly actually, which was nice. And it was a nice audition process aswell as sometimes the panel don't make you feel completely comfortable so you don't perform at your best. Whereas, with these guys, Neil Rutherford who's head of casting, he is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and he makes you feel so at ease so that you can be yourself, have a laugh with them and so they see the best of you - I think that's so important.

AL: That's fantastic, so they can really get to see what you can do then?
NW: Yes, you've got to be able to be yourself. First of all you've got to be talented, second you've got to be someone who can work in a team because we're together for 12 or 13 months and if there was one person in who wasn't a team player then it could go absolutely 'tits up!'. This is a fantastic company, everyone has gelled and it's accommodating and not back-stabbing, it's just a lovely company.

AL: Do you think that it's quite a 'British' thing to be supportive within a company, or not?
NW: I don't know. I worked in America, I did a show in New Orleans and I found them to be just as lovely but it's just a completely different work ethic. I can't really put my finger on it - from day one, it has been so supportive. Before day one we all got a letter from Neil Rutherford saying 'Bart's requested everyone off book for the first day of rehearsals', now I've never heard of that. I mean, I've not worked for years and years, I've only done six years, but I've never had anything like that! To be off book for the first day of rehearsals - so we do a full read through off book -it was incredible! So, we started at that level, so then you start at a place where you can carry on working from, rather than learning your lines on the job, which is a waste of time.

AL: Do you have a favourite part of the show?
NW: The songs are all incredible, I don't have a favourite song as it's such a beautiful show. I love watching Paulo, he is such a natural actor, everything is just so truthful and Loretta aswell. And Loretta has had no training, never been to drama school, it's just amazing!

AL: Are you looking forward to the tour as you only have 7 weeks at the Barbican before you go off on that?
NW: Seven weeks here, yeah. Then we've got a tour planned for 12 months or so - I know we go to Milton Keynes and Manchester to start with. I am looking forward to it because the job is just immense. I've just finished a tour five months ago in Mamma Mia, an international tour, and that was hard - touring is hard anyway but touring internationally throughout most of the year is super hard, so I'm looking forward to being in the UK - you can use your phone for free!!! I've got a girlfriend so I don't want to go too far and this means on my days off I can get home to see her and that's important to me and my family of course.
The thing is, I'm not in a position where I can choose my jobs so, if they said to me 'you've been offered an international tour' then I would have to say yes, but this is much better for me.

A huge Thank You to Nick Wyschna once again and I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview. Part 2 of Nick's interview includes lots of great information about his album so please check back with us to catch up with him again - due for posting on Sunday. In the meantime, to find out more about Nick and his Album 'Lost in the Wilderness', please VISIT HIS WEBSITE HERE
You can also follow Nick on Twitter @NickWyschna

Watch the official trailer for South Pacific here....

COMING NEXT: Nick Wyschna - 'Lost in the Wilderness'
COMING SOON: The Tempest, Billy Elliot, More from the Phantom 25th Celebrations and cast interviews

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