Summer in London is now in full flow at Stratford East, we caught up with a couple of the cast members to find out how it’s been going for them. First up we chatted to actor Ash Palmisciano about his experiences of working on the show.
AT: Tell us a little about you and your journey in to the arts:
AP: Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to entertain people. From being the class clown to providing my grandparents with front room shows. Life got in the way and I completely lost my confidence as a performer. A few years ago I attended a fantastic course at Central school of Speech and Drama organised especially for trans actors by the amazing charity Gendered Intelligence which completely restored my confidence and gave me a real boost to pursue my dream of acting. From there I went on to have some great auditions and even got a small role in BBC’s Boy Meets Girl.
AT: How did you get involved with Summer in London?
AP: So I noticed an advert which was shared on Facebook looking for actors that happen to be transgender. I’m not keen on falling into the trap of just playing trans roles but it sounded like an exciting and new project. I met with Rikki Beadle-Blair at the BAFTA building one afternoon and had a nice chat. He meets his cast first and then writes the script which was a really new and exciting process for me. I wasn’t sure how it went at the time but I’m guessing it went ok as he offered me a part. 🙂
AT: What’s it about?
AP: It’s a romcom following themes of friendship, love, loyalty, homelessness and gender. The central story is four boys living on their luck in London. They all fall for the same girl ‘Summer’ and each take their turn to try and win her heart. This running alongside a romance between one of the boys’ exes Justine and Summer’s life coach Joan. On the surface it’s a fun universal narrative but really it explores all human emotions from heart break and love to friendship and loyalty. All the cast and characters happen to be transgender but it’s not an education on what it means to be trans. It’s about making the audience forget about the trans label and just see the human.
AT: Why’s it an important show for 2017?
AP: It’s so incredibly important to keep working towards seeing trans characters and actors on stage. It’s about educating and normalising what it means to be transgender. The audience should come away from this realising there’s no difference between themselves and a trans person. It’s also massively important for other trans people to start seeing characters they recognise and can relate to. This play also challenges gender which I think is extremely relevant right now.
AT: What do you hope for audiences to take from the show?
AP: I really hope audiences have a fun and fantastic night out and leave having forgotten that the cast were transgender and just remembering seeing good actors perform. This will help normalise what it means to be trans and I hope that every person can relate to each of the characters.
AT: Are you working on anything else at the mo, or what are you working on next?
AP: I’m in the really early stages of developing a new piece of work with my friend Jon Brittain the writer of Rotterdam. We’re working on a one man show exploring themes of masculinity. The show is going to be part autobiographical documenting my life entering the ”male world” as a trans man. It’s going to be a comedy touching on some serious issues around masculinity. I’m so excited to get working on it and we’ll be showing it as a work in progress later this year at the Birmingham Rep.
Thank you so much Ash for your time today.
You only have a couple of days left to catch this show, which closes on Saturday 29th July 2017 – so be sure to see it while you can! Booking.