Interview: David Tennant And Greg Doran Talk About Their Working Relationship, Richard II And The Threat To The Arts

A few days before the opening of their latest production, David Tennant and Greg Doran have been interviewed by the Independent about their theatrical collaborations. At the moment they are in the closing stages of rehearsals for the new Royal Shakespeare Company staging of Richard II which will make its debut on Thursday 10th October at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. 

Read some highlights from the interview below:

On their reasons for wanting to perform Richard II:

Greg: "It’s a great lyric tragedy. On one level it’s a play about regime change, where people who think they have a God-given right to power attempt to cling on to that power beyond its sell-by date, so it has a great resonance [with current world events]. It’s all delivered in the most beautiful poetry [ever] written."

David: " I saw [it] at drama school [and] was completely transported by it and by Derek Jacobi’s performance. It’s a play I have always loved… Because it’s quite unknowable. There are no heroes and villains in it, just people trying their best and not managing to get on with their lives. These people happen to be ruling a country, which makes their shortcomings all the more grossly played out. I love the greyness of the moral lines."

On one another's working styles:

Greg: "David has a natural facility with the language. The lines don’t sound like 400-year-old lines."

David: "[Greg has] a very good way of being genuinely collaborative and yet at the same time always being the captain of the ship."

On the read through of Richard II:

David: “I was a very good Duchess of York.”

David on theatre vs. television:

David: "Theatre still feels like the day job to me. I just think that this is what I do and sometimes I go off and do bits of filming as well."

On further arts funding cuts by the government:

David: “I think we have to be very careful, because the arts are interconnected. There are some areas which need help in terms of national funding, but they, in turn, are connected on many levels to our film industry and our television industry. They all work as a piece. If you cut any bit of it you’re going to start starving the whole.”

On Greg's appointment to Artistic Director of the RSC by a panel that included David:

David: “I declared that I might have some sort of conflict of interest.”

Greg: “I thought, “Oh dear, I should have talked to David beforehand”, because he looked at me with this wan smile.”

The interview will also be published in the print edition of the Sunday Independent tomorrow.

Richard II opens in Stratford-upon-Avon on 10th October 2013 and will run until 16th November 2013. It will then transfer to the Barbican Theatre in London from December 9th 2013 until 25th January 2014. The production is directed by Gregory Doran and stars David Tennant as King Richard and Nigel Lindsay as Bolingbroke.

The play will be filmed and streamed live into UK cinemas on Wednesday 13th November, and then into cinemas in locations worldwide in broadcasts running until February 2014. Find out more on the RSC Onscreen site