Five questions with Deathtrap’s Julien Ball

 

Julien Ball in rehearsals for Deathtrap at Salisbury Playhouse (Credit Laura Jane Dale)

Julien Ball in rehearsals for Deathtrap. Photo by Laura Jane Dale

What attracted you to the role of Porter Milgrim?

It wasn’t so much the role as the opportunity to work with Adam [Penford] again, after being directed by him in a short play last year.  However there is more to Porter, like all the characters in this thriller, than meets the eye so the fun is working out what to reveal to the audience and when.

What preparation did you do before rehearsals began?

I started listening more intently to American accents on the radio and TV, having not done one for a few years. I also watched the 1982 film version starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve.

What is your favourite part of the rehearsal process?

“Digging potatoes” as my wife says; the beginning of rehearsals where you pick away at the play around a table and work out what the character’s motives, or in this case apparent motives, are.  Because the play is, in part, about the writing of a play call Deathtrap, it is important to know who knows what and when.

How does rehearsing for a play differ from rehearsing for TV or film?

It is rare to get any rehearsals for television, other than a quick line run and a camera rehearsal, as much for the technical crew as the actors.  You are more likely to have your conversations with the director at audition than “on the floor”. Much can be done in the edit for television; by contrast in theatre you have several weeks to try things out and hone something that is convincingly repeatable for the run of the play.

How would you describe Porter using five words?

Business-like

Dull (according to the other characters)

Pedantic

Frustrated-artist

You’ll have to see the play to get the last one!

Deathtrap runs at Salisbury Playhouse from 4th-27th February 2016. For tickets or more information please call 01722 320333 or visit www.salisburyplayhouse.com.

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