Interview: Laurie McNamara and Em Thane on One of Those Ones

One of Those Ones, the new play by I, Joan writer Charlie Josephine, sees Laurie McNamara and Em Thane play two siblings living in a rural community trying to get their heads around gender identity.

Presented by Pentabus Theatre, the play is touring UK rural venues until May where it ends its run in London. Josephine has described being ‘honoured to have the opportunity to tour this queer and trans story to rural venues,’ saying, ‘it’s such a terrible myth that queerness is just found in cities!’

As they prepared for opening night we spoke with McNamara and Thane about the play and what it’s like to be taking it on tour.

Laurie McNamara and Em Thane. Photo: Andrew Billington

Q&A with Laurie McNamara and Em Thane

What can you tell us about One of Them Ones?

Laurie: One of Them Ones is a play about two siblings living in a rural town trying to wrap their heads around gender identity and what it means to both of them.

Em: It’s a fast-paced, tender and funny piece that certainly keeps you going for 75 minutes! An important play that doesn’t shy away from the truth and reality of big conversations.

What can you tell us about your role in the show?

Laurie: Michael is Frankie’s older brother. He is very funny and kind hearted, but he is also incredibly protective of Frankie and it often gets in the way between the two of them and causes more damage than good. They both have a lot of love for one another.

Em: Frankie is a trans nonbinary young person who’s trying to work things out around their gender but also trying to not box themselves in in the process. They are excitable, earnest and wanting to keep their deep connection with their older brother in this new phase of life.

How has the rehearsal period been so far?

Laurie: The rehearsal period has been so much fun! Everyone in the room has been brilliant. We’ve had loads of really interesting conversations sparked from the play. They’re two fantastically written characters and so it’s been so much fun exploring them and working on the play!

Em: It’s been lush! The whole team are so grounded and fun to work with, and we’ve definitely had a good laugh in the rehearsal room. It’s been so great working with people who are so caring about each other, and I’ve appreciated the approach to the whole process.

Em Thane and Laurie McNamara. Photo: Andrew Billington

How does it feel to be taking the show on tour?

Laurie: It’s really exciting! It’s a show about two working class people from a rural town so it’s great that we get the opportunity to bring this story to other rural communities. Hopefully the play resonates with audiences and starts conversations!

Em: It feels very exciting! I’m very much honoured to be part of telling an important story and to be bringing representation to wider audiences. This is my first tour and I couldn’t have asked for a better first touring experience and group of people to be working with, and I’m looking forward to seeing what each venue brings us!

How would you describe One of Them Ones to someone considering buying a ticket?

Laurie: It’s fast-paced, packs a punch, full of laughs and tender moments. Something for everyone!

Em: If you’re after a blast of energy, sibling banter, and a queer story then come along! Charlie’s writing is action-packed, truthful, funny, and deliciously raw.

One of Them Ones is touring nationally until 14 May.