Interview: Vincenzo Nicoli, “Audiences will identify with what the characters go through”

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep, the new play devised and written by the play’s company for ViSiBLE Theatre Ensemble, follows the successful runs of two previous ViSiBLE shows at Southwark Playhouse, Who Do We Think We Are? and Roundelay, once again offering audiences insights into the experience of later life.

Ahead of tomorrow’s opening performance we spoke with cast member Vincenzo Nicoli about his role in the play, the threat of Covid and later life on stage.

The Understudy Q&A with Vincenzo Nicoli

Hi Vincenzo, thanks for talking with us about Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep, the play you’re opening at Southwark Playhouse. What can you tell us about the play and your role in it?

I play Bill Fletcher – who is one of life’s drifters. He starts off as an actor, but that doesn’t really work out for him, and then he stumbles into becoming a chef. He has several very disastrous relationships and as he gets older, he starts to lose his memory.

How have rehearsals been so far?

Very intense and interesting. Mike works in a very different way to other directors. He believes in the creativity of the actor – in order to find your way through a character.

The production was delayed due to the pandemic – how does it feel to finally be bringing the play to the stage?

Well, it’s quite exciting to get back to some semblance of normality. Very strange how two years have flown by. But there is always the threat of one of us getting Covid and then we’d have to cancel performances.

In rehearsals for Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep. Photo: Bessell Photography

The production is by ViSiBLE, a theatre company dedicated to creating performance work that throws fresh perspectives on later life and living longer. How important was that aspect of the play when you first considered the role?

Very important as I’m over 60 – often later life tends to get ignored in this country. It’s so exciting to be reflecting characters that are “getting on” in years.

Finally, how would you describe Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep to someone considering buying a ticket for the show?

I think audiences will identify with what the characters go through in this piece. We all know someone who has difficulty sleeping and getting through the night. Indeed, most of us, at some time or other will have some form of sleep deprivation. So, come and observe.

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep is at Southwark Playhouse from 27 Apr to 21 May