Actor embraces Brechtian tragedy on home turf
A Greenwich actor will be treading the boards in his home town for the first time as he tackles a Bertolt Brecht play underpinned by a poignant message.
The touring production of Mother Courage and Her Children will stop off at Greenwich Theatre next week with the friends and family of thespian Jacob Addley lining the rows for its opening night.
The 21-year-old said performing at the Crooms Hill venue was something he had wanted to do since moving to the town last year.
And while juggling the roles of Swiss Cheese and Cook, he said the translation by Lee Hall bought a fresh, modern spin to the classic.
"It is a really fun, exciting show with rock music which we all play on-stage to try to keep it a bit modern and aim it at a large audience from young to old," he said.
"We also have bits of Twitter updates to help in the story and most of it is staged further in the future."
The plot tells the story of two conflicting ideologies that threaten the balance of world power.
Brecht wrote the play in response to the rise of fascism and Nazism in his home country and was penned in a "white heat" in little over a month.
In the midst of the action, a mum-of-three spots a way to profit from the slaughter by selling goods to both sides but, in her quest for material gain, she is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice.
"It is a complicated message but I suppose that message is if in war you want to live, you have got to be prepared to give," said Jacob.
"If you as society are OK to buy into the war, you have got to accept the fact there has to be consequences and people have to suffer.
"Brecht is a challenging thing to understand as it is but the big challenge of doing a Brecht play is getting across to the audience and making them understand and also making them change, I suppose, making them change their opinion of the subject you are doing."
He added: "I'm playing Swiss Cheese and Cook and other various roles as well.
"Swiss Cheese is the son of Mother Courage and is a bit of a simpleton, whereas the cook is the Don Juan character and a bit of a ladies' man.
"Playing a bit of a simpleton is quite a tricky thing to do as it is very far out of your own character and that's the more challenging one, I'd say.
"Playing the Cook is really fun as well and I am loving that."
The production, directed by Tom Neil and staged by Blackeyed Theatre, will begin its Greenwich leg on October 10.
Mother Courage and her Children, Greenwich Theatre. October 10-13, 7.30pm, matinee on October 13 at 2.30pm. Tickets from £12.50. Call 020 8858 7755 or go to greenwichtheatre.org.uk.