Actor Jonno Davies, who stars in the Off-Broadway play A Clockwork Orange, chatted with us about the London show's New York City run through December 2.
Are there things that you’ve brought over from the London shows that the American audience isn’t catching? JD: Yes, if I’m completely honest, but I do think it’s because we're using a British accent that not many Americans will hear. It’s not like we’re doing RP, the posh Downtown Abbey. We’re doing a Mancunian accent which the only thing that comes close to it is maybe Game of Thrones. So, if you mix that with Burgess’ ‘Nadsat’ and I think it’s a lot harder for the American audience to tune in vocally. So, we’ve added different bits of text to help clarify what’s the slang and what’s the New World. But what’s so great about the show is that it’s still current. It was written in the 60s, the film that Kubrick did made it iconic in the 70s, and now we’re here in 2017 and it still is relevant. The world’s as fragmented now as it probably has been and the world of a Clockwork Orange is even closer than it was when it was written over 50 years ago.
What inspired the director, Alexandra Spencer-Jones, to approach Clockwork with an all-male cast? JD: Quite boringly, it comes from Shakespeare’s company. So, she was working with a pretty all-male cast of Romeo and Juliet at the time, in the traditional sense, as it would have been back in the day. And she wanted to continue that. She went from Romeo, who was a good boy gone bad, to Alex DeLarge, who was a bad boy turned good. And she’s totally excited about doing the show in the future as an all-female cast to totally mix it up and see how the world responds to it in a different way. But what I love about it being all male, is that it kind of creates more of a blank canvas for these characters. A lot of the female roles that we have in the show are two dimensional because they’re being seen by a 15-year-old boy who hasn’t quite got the concept yet of what it means to be a woman, or a man. Having that through line of males playing boys or girls, keeps it vague and gender fluid. I like the order and the chaos that the all-male ensemble creates.
You've done this show for over three years, so how do you keep yourself motivated and excited about each run? JD: It all comes down to an amazing story and script. Something is always happening in the world which I feel is relevant. A lot has happened since our London run earlier on in the year and coming here, from global politics to natural disasters to shootings, so we always relate those things as they happen. We’re fragmented. We have not only social classes blaming each other, but you have age groups and generations blaming each other over the societal problems of today. And for me that keeps it really fresh, as well as bringing in new actors, and this time we have a whole new energy of boys that are bringing me something entirely different. We have a whole new audience reacting to the show, and for me that means I have to be aware and be listening.
Where do you and the guys hang out after the show? JD: We're now actually at the point where we can have a social life now that we're not rehearsing in the day. We kind of stay in Hell's Kitchen most of the time. And we have a really weird schedule. Our day off is Tuesday, so Monday night is the big night, and if anyone has any recommendations for a Monday night venture, please let us know.