An interview with… Fingers Crossed Theatre about Central (Story) Line

Tell us a bit about you as a company and this show? 

We came together as a company during our time at East 15 Acting School. Being an international company with members from all over the world, we feel like we can bring a lot to the table. We draw from our own personal experiences, the fact that we grew up in very different societies, and the historical events that have had an impact on our cultures.

Our show has been developed over a large period of time, since the early days of 2017 with performances at The Pub Theatre Festival, The International Festival of New Work and The Camden Fringe. Even though we’ve performed the show many times, we still feel like we are settling into the script because devised work is constantly in development. Since the show is inspired by true events, a lot of research has been done as preparation and because of the continuous exposure we’ve had these past months, we’ve been able to make connections with key people who have immensely contributed to this research. We’d like to be as accurate as possible yet remain theatrical and use the arts to convey a story about three Kindertransportees. It is a story we feel hasn’t been told much and we’d like to be a generation that remembers the past and hopefully learns from it.

What was it about the Kindertransport story that attracted you to make the play? 

The fact that the story is more relevant now than ever, especially with what happened in America when Trump decided to separate children from their families. The Kindertransport scheme was an act of humanity that should never be forgotten. England was the country that accepted the largest amount of kinders, 10 000 Jewish and non-Jewish children. We think it’s a story about survival, immigration, refugees, identity, long-lasting friendships, therefore we found it was an important story people should see now and remember for a long time.

What have you enjoyed the most about this project? 

The fact that we’ve all come together and devised this show – we’ve learned so much about history and the lives of these amazing children who experiences something so traumatic from such a young age; it has had a huge impact on us all as individuals and as artists. We are thankful for their stories and how so selflessly they have shared them through talks, books and documentaries.

What do you think people will like most about the show? 

Firstly, the show represents a journey through time. We hope they can reminisce a bit about the past and enjoy singing and dancing along in their seats to cult classic songs from different eras as well as hear historical speeches they know of. Secondly, we think they will enjoy watching the transformation we go through in the play as we grow older and older. 67 years get covered within an hour, it’s great.

What did devising the play bring to the process? (Say, over working from a pre-written script) 

We were able to gain a deeper understanding of the characters because we gave birth to them, the first thought they had, their first sentences. It comes from a special place within the actor which somehow makes it a part of you. There is a lot of freedom for an actor in devising which also allows us to challenge and surprise each other with new ideas that weren’t visible in previous rehearsals. Sometimes these surprises became the key to unlocking key moments in the story.

Are you hoping to develop the piece? If so, how? 

Every time we return the piece after letting it rest for a bit, we’ve always developed it further. Actually, I think with devised work, your piece is always in development because as you perform it, you learn from it, you understand it better, therefore, you can make small adjustments the make the piece even stronger. We would love to be commissioned to develop the piece into a two-act play. Since creating it, we have learned more and more stories that could get incorporated into these characters and develop the story even further.

Favourite line from the play? 

Democracy doesn’t work when the majority of people are too stupid.

Three words to describe the play? 

Intriguing, unforgettable, sexy.

Tell us a funny story from rehearsals? 

The Director is always teaching us new words. One day she asked one of the actors if he could be a little raunchier…. None of us knew what that meant.

Anything else people should know before coming to the show?

Be prepared to dance and sing along.

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