Interview: We Long Endure

Dominic Kimberlin, second-year English student, has written and directed his first play, We Long Endure. Its all-star cast comprises of Mandarr Brandi, Mattia Marriotti, Adryon Kozel, Constantin Popov & Josephine […]

Dominic Kimberlin, second-year English student, has written and directed his first play, We Long Endure. Its all-star cast comprises of Mandarr Brandi, Mattia Marriotti, Adryon Kozel, Constantin Popov & Josephine Wolfe.

Dominic, there has been a lot of student written theatre in St Andrews this academic year, and particularly over the last month. How will We Long Endure will be different?

Dominic: Original music. Written by Vahan Salorian, a dear friend with whom I co-wrote three musicals (also with another dear friend named Tom). Whilst this isn’t a musical, the music is very important in creating psychological elements, particularly as the style is rather eclectic. The way that we use music in our lives to produce certain kinds of situations, often through the private music player, is very intriguing.

Sounds very impressive. What would you say have been your sources of inspiration?

Dominic: Too much reading, for a start. One of the most fascinating books I’ve read was by a doctor who’d witnessed numerous interrogations under the Nazi regime. It essentially details the deconstruction of the individual’s identity, and what this tells us about how people interact in everyday life. You can read too many of those kinds of books.

I watch a lot of films. David Lynch, Harmony Korine, Lucio Fulci: they are/were all terrifying directors and have inspired a lot of the imagery in this play. Lynch once described the process behind his films as the occurrence of certain images he liked, which he then fit a narrative to. I take a lot from that.

You’ve acted in at least two other student-written plays here, has this affected how you yourself direct your own writing?

Dominic: Yes. The writer-directors I’ve worked with have all been amazing, and I more or less learned by watching how they interacted with their casts. I was taken by how well they formed a sense of cohesion between the actors, such that rehearsals were very enjoyable and you felt a connection to the people around you. Beyond that, I was also interested by the use of the Barron Theatre to stage very intimate scenes. In We Long Endure I’ve aimed to bring about a nearness bordering on claustrophobia.

Mattia, you directed Dominic in Caligula last year. How have you found the role reversal?

Mattia: Eheh, I have to admit I had never thought of it in those terms. It’s hard to compare as, in Caligula, Dominic was a semi-God. Here, at best, I’m the sacristan. Anyway, all I can say is that I trust Dominic better than I trust my pockets, not just because my pockets aren’t particularly trustworthy (which actually happens to be the case),  but because it is obvious from every muscle he moves that  he knows perfectly well what he is doing, and that, both in the play and more widely in his existence, he is doing something great. Actually, there is a neat distinction between our roles in this play, as there was in Caligula. Here I feel like an apprentice in the hovel of a wise alchemist and I tend to forget that I have been Dominic’s director. 

And how have you found working on a piece with the writer himself?

Josephine: Going to Dominic’s rehearsals has made me feel like I was granted a precious golden ticket in a candy bar to explore the bizarre personal world of a genius. Working with the writer has enabled us to draw insights into his mind and thus to both understand and identify (to a fair degree) with what inspired this psychedelic play. I have thoroughly enjoyed all our rehearsals with Dominic! They have been fun (I am now pretty adept at playing Whoosh!), quite intense (a lot of stretching) and all sorts of crazy. While Dominic has a clear vision of how he wants the play to be realized on stage he has also allowed each actor to creatively embody his own character, which has been a liberating experience.

Mattia: It’s an amazing experience, and makes everything far easier. I mean, if you had Shakespeare there in front of you, cycling every day from Strathkinness to come and explain his text, and what he means there and there, and so on, your job as an actor would be a fair bit easier. This is particularly true for Dominic’s play, which makes the explosive content of the mind of a genius manifest itself on stage. The play deals mostly with issues of arguably universal relevance, but if Being John Malkovich is Being John Malkovich, We Long Endure may well be Being Dominic Kimberlin, which is an experience that all those who can should try once in their lives. Trying to guide people into this hypnotic world without having toured it before with the landlord would be somewhat harder.

If you think you could enjoy the show, be sure to make it to the Barron tonight or tomorrow at 6.30pm. It promises to be a very interesting experience.