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Dr Faustus Q&A with Kit Harington and Jamie Lloyd and tales of slow-dancing and 'weird shit'

6a0133ec96767e970b01b7c80f05da970b-320wiSo I found myself back in the Duke of York's watching Dr Faustus again last night - there was a pair of £15 tickets on the front row so I couldn't resist. Following the performance, there was Q&A with director Jamie Lloyd, Kit Harington plus Craig Stein, Brian Gilligan and Garmon Rhys.

Chairs were set up on the tiny bit of stage that protrudes from underneath the safety curtain behind which the clean-up operation could be heard. Jamie Lloyd said he felt for the stage management team who had the big job of cleaning up after each performance (puke of various colours, soil, flour, poo, blood and food).

Everyone was in a relaxed and jovial mood which made for an often amusing discussion. Here are some of the highlights:

Jamie and Kit were asked about casting:

JL said he has a list of plays he wants to do and he wanted to work with Kit so he sent him a couple of things to look at one of which was Dr Faustus.

KH said if he reads a script and then wants to immediately read it again then he wants to do it. He likes juicy, wacky and weird roles: 'I love weird shit'. In Dr Faustus, he loved the contemporary sections of the play spliced with the Marlowe original. 

How do you learn your lines and approach the role?

KH said that JL likes the actors 'off book' and he looked at how much there was in the script and thought 'oh shit' so he booked a cottage in Wales, cut off from everything and 'spent four days pummelling it'. Then there was one of those pauses when everyone is thinking it but no one wants to say until JL kindly stepped in quipped 'but what about the lines?' Much laughter at that, naturally.

Once he recovered he went on to say how he didn't know what the premise would be. He saw a magician friend and thought it would be like the poster (pictured).  But then JL told him that Dr Faustus is just in his room, it's all in his head and everyone is in their pants. So he approached it as if he going through a psychotic episode, that he is on some big, bad trip.

JL Said that Faustus doesn't achieve anything. He teeters around the edge of it but chooses fame and wealth instead which is true about society now, people seeking 'popularity' through social media.

There was a question about the movement pieces and how those was devised

JL said everything was a collaboration between him, the cast and movement coach Polly Bennett and that it came from a 'playfulness'. He said he creates that environment from day one with everyone up on their feet rather than sitting around and analysing.

Brian Gilligan said he turned up on day one, didn't even have time to say hello to Kit before he found himself slow dancing with him. He said they got to know each other intimately rather than intellectually and were doing stuff on the first day you wouldn't do until a third date. Bottom slapping was mentioned.

JL said he brought in images and film clips to inspire them and they did do some text analysis. He also had the cast paraphrase all their lines from the Marlowe segments.

Garmon Rhys said after a few weeks in rehearsal it hit him that he would be doing a two-hour play in his pants to which BG replied 'or not in my pants' as his character is naked for the first scene.

Related articles:

Interview with Jenna Russell who plays Mephistopheles

Interview with Kit, Jamie and Jenna

Q&A with Jenna