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Robert Harris on a visit and Joseph Kloska Q&A


The Imperium cast were delighted to receive a visit from author Robert Harris yesterday night. The writer posted a tweet with a photo of them together.

A wonderful day yesterday at @ImperiumWestEnd. Here with the brilliant cast after their 6-hour epic. Love you guys

Oliver Johnstone is in the first row on the left. Epic photo! (Photographer unknown.)

Harris must be so proud of them, they make such a great work inspired by his writing!

Both @TheRSC and @ImperiumWestEnd shared the tweet.

@HilaryMcGowan,  a twitter friend of mine, who was also attending the double bill of Imperium, wrote that she went to greet the writer and his guests Peter Mandelson and Andrew Neil. They talked about the play and Neil said Oliver Johnstone is his godson and they talked about how talented he was! This makes me most curious! I didn’t know about a godfather!

She also asked Harris how he thought Imperium had transferred to a proscenium arch theatre: he said he that the staging was very good.

I like that she talked about her experience at the Gielgud Theatre with us!

I’ve found Andrew Neil on Twitter, he wrote about attending to the event, too. Now I’m following him.


I always like to share interviews with other members of cast Oliver is in. Yesterday London Theatre Direct posted a Q&A with Joseph Kloska, who plays Tiro, in a wonderful performance! He sounds like a clever young actor!

In the photo, he’s sitting next to Oliver.

Original link: londontheatredirect.com

<<All roads lead to the Gielgud Theatre for Imperium, an unmissable, two-part epic that brings the world of ancient Rome to life. The tale chronicles the rise of Cicero (Richard McCabe) and the fall of the Roman Republic. Starring as Cicero’s slave, Tiro, who also serves as the narrator of the two plays, is Joseph Kloska, a talented English star who is highly prolific in historical period pieces. Kloska has been universally praised for his performance, which has been called both ‘magnificent’ and ‘lively’ (WhatsOnStage). We sat down with the charming actor for a lovely Q&A session. Read what he had to say below:

While certainly a pair, Imperium I and II are standalone plays in their own right. As an actor does that influence your role? Do you draw on material from one part to inform the other or do you treat them as separate pieces?

They certainly work on their own, describing tumultuous events from the life of Cicero over 17 years apart, but I do think about the longer journey through both plays as a single experience for my character, Tiro. He is writing Cicero’s biography and I get to be both inside and outside the events spiralling through the plays. Decisions Cicero makes in the first minutes of Part 1 catch up with him at the end of Part 2. As a narrator, Tiro knows what’s coming, but within the scenes I have to react afresh as Cicero navigates this treacherous world. It’s amazing to witness and I try to use my accumulated experiences through the plays to inform the audience about the stakes, the ironies and the danger of the situations we face. There is certainly closure in each part, and either separately or together, you will get a major slice of one of the most dynamic moments in political history!

Imperium is certainly epic theatre, but it feels incredibly fast-paced. Why do you think this is?

The plays describe a period of history and a world where events were piling on top of one another. The Romans managed to create a system to channel ambition through a political process unfortunately prone to corruption, violence and the whims of ultra-ambitious people. Robert and Mike describe a moment where within a single generation, political reality changed for good, where that violence overthrew all known political structures and “strong men” abandoned democratic processes to wield dictatorial power. We have a lot to get through – and even though the plays seem long, they move very, very quickly as a series of antagonists try to destroy Cicero’s own dreams and ideals.

You’re frequently doing 2 shows in a day and you are on stage every moment of each show. How do you maintain your energy levels when you’re on stage for this long and how do you wind down when you finally leave the stage?

I have to admit – it is pretty exhausting! But doing both shows in one day is incredibly rewarding, getting to chart the full course of Cicero’s life. In terms of keeping my energy up, I tend to eat a lot of melon. And my lovely dressing room colleagues Joe Dixon and Peter de Jersey make sure the coffee is ready when I come off at the various intervals! After the show, I would hate to inform my younger self, I go home and sleep, usually via a gin and tonic.

After an incredibly successful run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, Imperium transferred to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre which has more than double the capacity. How has the show changed or been adapted for the new run? How different do the shows seem in the different venues?

The show has certainly evolved since our move to the West End. The Gielgud is much larger than the Swan and Anthony Ward has expanded his design to fit it. I think it feels even more epic – as though just beyond our forum where you watch the play, Rome’s backstreets and dark allies extend. The West End audience is certainly very alert to all the political analogies, which with current events (Brexit chaos, the Trump visit) seem ever more pertinent and nearby!

You have been involved in a whole host of political/historical work recently: The Crown, Imperium, the upcoming Peterloo. Is that something you seek out, or has it just happened? And how does playing a real person of historical note differ from a character that is only real on the page?

Ha! Yes, perhaps I have a face for period drama! I’m really not sure why it’s been that way, it just seems to be the case. In terms of playing Lord Porchester in The Crown and working with Mike Leigh on the character of Richard Carlile in Peterloo – research is essential, and I do love that part of the job. But I think there is a responsibility to try to find out as much as you can about who you’re playing whether they were real or not, and to work with that backstory as you play the character on stage or on film. I must speak to my agent about doing a contemporary romcom.

Is there any period of history or story from history in particular that is of interest to you at the moment?

Well, I love history and I studied it at university. I’m very interested in the American Civil War and later the Civil Rights movement. I really enjoyed the Booker winner Lincoln in the Bardo. American democracy and its tribulations are particularly relevant at the moment, I believe.

I am also fascinated by the culture of early Man 30-40,000 years ago. I travelled to the Caves de Niaux in the French Pyrenees a few years ago and a kilometre inside these dark caves, extraordinary images of hands, horses, birds and other animals have been left on the cave walls, illuminated by flickering flames. I like to think about that moment in human development and how that intellectual and artistic drive contained all the potential for the amazing events of the modern world.

Has being involved in all of these historical/political works had an impact on your personal views of politics? Do you view things through a different lens now?

I am politically motivated and think political engagement can and must make the world a better place. My recent work has reminded me that certain historical patterns do repeat themselves, as tragedy and as farce, that democracy is hard fought for and easily lost, and that we should fight to hold the powerful to account.

Imperium finishes its run on 8 September. Are you jumping straight into another project afterwards, or are you giving yourself some downtime?

I am jumping straight onto an aeroplane with my girlfriend to somewhere hot and next to a beach. I went straight from The Crown into Peterloo and now Imperium, so I could do with a break!


Perhaps we could all do with a break! Which is all the more why you should see Imperium before it’s too late. Immerse yourself in a bout of escapism and enter an ancient, compelling story that has withstood the test of time.

Don’t be on the wrong side of history and book your tickets now for the best seats in the house!


Purchase your tickets to Imperium I: Conspirator here.

Don’t forget to book Part 2 as well! Purchase your tickets to Imperium II: Dictator here.>>



I agree with London Theatre Direct: lovers of Roman History and Theatre should not miss this amazing play!

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Privacy Statement: I do not share personal information with third-parties nor do I store information I collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser’s settings.
I am not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I’ve finally seen Imperium and I start a DVD/blu-ray petition!


So it finally happened: I’ve seen both the parts of Imperium on the 11st of July in the beautiful Gielgud Theatre in London!

I took just some photos of the theatre, I would have liked to take one with the cast during the final applauses, but it was no allowed inside.

I was fearing until the last minute I couldn’t make it, but I couldn’t have missed the chance to see it. The book is a great reading!

I saw Conspirator in the matinee and Dictator at night, (this one was hard to book for, but I made it thanks to a kind Twitter friend I couldn’t thank enough), a full immersion in the world of the ancient Rome!

I enojyed every minute and I found it very entertaining and so well staged and performed. It was fun, there is irony along the action, a lot of brilliant lines, and yet it’s epic and tragic, too. I’ve always imagined the Roman Senate to be like that and a simple but effective design reproduces the building with no need to change the set for the other scenes.

There are some changes compared to the book, but the majority of the action remains. What a hard work must have been to write the script out of 1.000+ pages! The casting is perfect, each actor is so in the part, nobody excluded!

I can’t say if I liked Oliver Johnstone more as Rufus, the ambitious young lawyer pupil of Cicero, or as Octavius, Julius Caesar’s adopted child who became the first Roman emperor. He plays both the roles brilliantly, opposite to Richard McCabe and the other actors! Particularly as Octavian seeming young and naive to the other characters, he looks more dangerous than they think.


I don’t think there will be another occasion for me to watch it live again before it ends on September this year, unless the RSC decides to bring it back to Stratford in the future, like it happened with King Lear.

I’ve read on Twitter several comments of people who can’t make it and would like it to be screened in cinemas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often that a RSC production is filmed for screen and, later, for a disc, unless it’s a play from Shakespeare. There has been just one ecception, as far as I know.

So I start another petition to ask the Royal Shakespeare Company to make a DVD/blu-ray of Imperium for collectors of the RSC plays and people who can’t see it at the venue!

Would you like to join me again? Write your comment below!

I will share it with the Royal Shakespeare Company in some time.

Please join me in telling the RSC why it would be worth it to have IMPERIUM on DVD/blu-ray!!!

To me, the reason would be seeing this fantastic production at home every time I like! The staging and costumes are too beautiful, the sound too effective and the performances too strong to see the plays go forever!

Thank you!

(I approve comments manually, but they will be online in a short time).

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Privacy Statement: I do not share personal information with third-parties nor do I store information I collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser’s settings.
I am not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

First look at Imperium at the Gielgud Theatre


BroadwayWorld has shared the photos of Imperium in the West End, Part I Conspirator and Part II Dictator, this time taken by Manuel Harlan:

https://www.broadwayworld.com/westend/article/Photo-Flash-First-Look-at-IMPERIUM-i-at-the-Gielgud-Theatre-20180626

In four of them, there is Oliver Johnstone playing Rufus and Octavian.

I think they look amazing! Great job by Anthony Ward and Mark Henderson for the set and costume design and for the lighting, too!


The same photos plus some others are also on the RSC’s site, just updated: Conspirator and Dictator. Here, two more with Oliver:

Official site https://imperiumwestend.com/

London welcomes Imperium


Gielgud Theatre © ImperiumWestEnd

London welcomes the so-much-wanted transfer of Imperium, the play based on the novel by Robert Harris and directed by Gregory Doran, which had a successful run in Stratford in November 2017-February 2018!

Part I: Conspirator starts tonight at the Gielgud Theatre, London, 14 June – 8 September 2018. Part II: Dictator will start in seven days.

ImperiumWestEnd on Twitter announced: “A limited number of £25 Day Seats will be available at the Gielgud Box Office for each performance.

https://imperiumwestend.com/

Oliver Johnstone reprises his role as Rufus https://imperiumwestend.com/cast-creatives/oliver-johnstone.

Break a leg to the cast and crew for a smashing first performance tonight!

photo Ikin Yum © RSC

 

King Lear is back to Stratford from tonight!


After a successful run at the B.A.M. in Brooklyn, King Lear opens tonight at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon (UK).
There will be some changes in the cast and Antony Sher announced that this is his “final Shakespearean role“.
Seven new production photos from Brooklyn have been made by Isaac James, two featuring Oliver Johnstone as Poor Tom.

I’ve collected some reviews Oliver got in Brooklyn in this page: reviews/stage/2018-king-lear/.

Oliver is a force of nature of an actor, as he began the rehearsals for Imperium in London two days ago and today is certainly back to Stratford to reprise his role in King Lear!

Break a leg to the cast & creatives for tonight!

King Lear  23 May – 9 June 2018.

Imperium rehearsals in London begin today


Imperium rehearsals in London begin today, announced by the RSC Press Office and Rada London on Twitter.

An official website plus a Twitter account have been launched to promote the transfer at the Gielgud Theatre:

The full cast has not been announced, yet, but Oliver Johnstone should reprise his roles as Rufus and Octavian.

Part I: Conspirator, 14 June – 8 September 2018

Part II: Dictator, 21 June – 8 September 2018