Running with the Pack: An Interview with Children of the Wolf director Rick Lamoure

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With less than three weeks to go to the opening night of Children of the Wolf, I caught up with debut director Rick Lamoure to talk about the play and his approach to theatre.

So, Rick, what’s the play about?

Children of the Wolf is about Linda and Robin, who were twins abandoned at birth. They’ve grown up through the system, foster homes, failed adoptions; they’ve only had each other. They seek out their birth mother, lure her into a home that has a lot of meaning for her past and proceed to psychologically torment her. It’s about family, the consequences of past choices and moral conscience.

Why did you want to direct this play?

It stood out to me. There were a lot of plays that I read that I didn’t have that feeling for. This play had a great flow: it’s definitely something that’s dark and intense. Anyone else that I’d given the play to came back to me with the exact same thing. They didn’t want to put it down and they couldn’t believe the ending.

What can audiences expect when they see it?

They can expect a bit of a shock factor. They can expect to not really know who to root for a lot of the time. I think they can expect to be conflicted and surprised and to be on the edge of their seat.

How have you found the process so far?

It’s been a learning experience. You get a better appreciation for how short a time frame it is between getting your rehearsal space and getting the play on stage. It goes fast! That’s the main take-away – getting the most out of the time that you have.

Probably the most pleasing aspect of it has been doing the first run-through where things look like they’re coming into shape and they’re turning out how you wanted them to. That’s immensely satisfying. You’ve been directing the actors and shaping the play and to see it unfolding in the way that you wanted is definitely the biggest thrill. So far that’s been the most satisfying thing, as well as getting the cast I wanted and the backstage crew I thought would do the best job.

Tell us a bit about your experience in theatre.

I moved here to Leicester about five years ago from Canada and I didn’t know anybody. I was walking from the train station to my house and I saw the sign for The Little Theatre. My older sister does amateur theatre, so I thought if she can do it…everybody can do it, right?! I thought it would be a good way to meet people, so I joined the Thursday Workshop. I got a small walk on part in my first year here and then got my first onstage role. I was also doing some backstage stuff, then I got into doing DSMing and more acting. I thought ‘I’ve tried the onstage things and the backstage things, maybe I’ll give directing a shot’. So I did a one act play last year and now I’m here.

Your one act play, David Campton’s Out of the Flying Pan, was excellent and had a lot of technical aspects. How much is that going to transfer over to Children of the Wolf?

It was a very different kind of play to this: it’s quite silly with a lot of gibberish speaking. I could stylise it, so I was able to do a lot of co-ordinated movement with the actors. There were very specific things that I could key certain technical cues to. That added a lot to what was going on because so much was abstract. This play is more real, but we have done a bit to make it surreal. Kevin Jenkins has designed a very interesting set and we’re lighting it in such a way that it can change the mood of the play. There’s also the same kind of co-ordinated motion; we’ve taken a lot of the hunting habits of wolves and incorporated that into the movements and tableaux.

What do you love most about theatre?

My career is very technical and theatre is that artistic escape and release. But at the same time I can use my technical way of thinking and see that unfold in an artistic way. It’s satisfying.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

You don’t have to cast on the first day. If you know the people you want for your crew, contact them yesterday.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Have a plan and ask all the questions that you can as early as you can. Get as much guidance as possible and don’t be afraid of asking for help.

What will you be feeling when the curtain goes up on opening night?

Quite nervous. Doing backstage and onstage stuff, I don’t get very nervous, I don’t get shaky. But with directing, I’m sitting there waiting for the lights to come up on the first scene of the play and my hands are a bit shaky and I feel a bit jittery. It’s an exciting feeling.

After Children of the Wolf, what’s next for you?

I planned to take a break last year and ended up being at the theatre every day, so I think this time I actually will take a break. Maybe I’ll look at getting into a one act or studio play in the new year, but we’ll see what’s available.

What other plays in the season are you looking forward to seeing?

I’ll see all of them but Breaking the Code, for sure, and Ladykillers sounds interesting. I’ve only seen the Tom Hanks movie and everyone tells me that that’s the worst thing I could have seen, so I should see that.

Nick Palmer

Children of the Wolf runs from 28th September to 3rd October. Children of the Wolf tickets