Rupert starred as Nathan in this play, presented as part of Fragments, an evening of five short plays written by Anna Jordan.
- Riverside Studios, London (1 February 2012)
- Directed by Anna Jordan of Without a Paddle Theatre
I was lucky enough to see Rupert Young perform in a short play called ‘That Dark Place’. It was one of five short pieces, collectively titled Fragments, written by Anna Jordan. All the plays were interesting, and certainly well presented by a great ensemble cast. They were very much about being human in an overwhelming world. All of them were a bit twisted in some way, but all heartening and mostly managing to find a glint of optimism somewhere in amidst the heartache. All of them were a bit black, but also very funny. And all of them were very well written!
Rupert was in the third play, ‘That Dark Place’, as Nathan, with Christina Gallon as his wife Constance, and Roger Woods as Dermot.
He is so unutterably delicious…
- This production photo is used with respect but without permission. All rights remain with Without a Paddle Theatre and photographer Kevin Murphy.
But the play! It’s set around the kitchen table, as appropriate for a domestic crisis. Nathan is going a bit mad, and babblingly confesses to murders he’s read about in the papers. His wife Constance has taken significant time away from work to take care of him. He has more lucid moments than not, and the couple are affectionate and loving in their best moments. They’re obviously commited to each other, and it seems for a while their efforts will eventually be rewarded by a return to health for Nathan.
But then we discover that Nathan’s been having violent thoughts about Constance, too, and the story he tells about watching her sleep – and not just considering killing her, but actually touching her throat as he did so – has a horrible ring of truth to it. So we are more relieved than not to have Dermot turn up. He’s a mental health professional of some kind, and he’s suggesting that Nathan go with him to be properly assessed and perhaps institutionalised. There’s some back-and-forthing, of course, but in his lucid moments Nathan knows it’s the best thing, really, and he leaves with Dermot docilely enough.
Rupert was just brilliant in all this. I’m sure you’ve already got a bit of an idea how much he veered (in what must have only been about 20 minutes) from sweet and caring to violent and threatening, from paranoid to reasonable, from grateful to oblivious. It was genuine enough to be scary, and yet very sympathetic too – not just because it was Rupert! But I really felt for Nathan, especially in those moments when he knew all too well what was happening to him. Rupert and Christina related well to each other in playing a couple who’d obviously been together for a long time, and loved each other deeply. They had tried to handle this the best they could, for each other’s sake, but alas now they were in ‘that dark place’ from which there was no clear way forward.
There was official mingling afterwards, so we hung out and ambushed Rupert with a smile or two. He was his usual sweet, kind self. In fact, almost the first thing he did was apologise for the violence in the play. Which was delightfully chivalrous, and entirely unnecessary. He thanked us for coming. He talked a bit about it being only four days of rehearsals, so it was all a bit of a rush. I tried to tell him how good he was, how sympathetic he’d made the character – but you know, it’s hard to convey such things properly! We wished him well. And, basically, he was lovely, and of course in great demand, so we let him go.
It was great to also see some of the Company cast there to support Rupert – and obviously to enjoy a great night of theatre, as well. And it was a very enjoyable evening all round, made all the more so for the company of some dear friends and other wonderful peeps. ♥