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London Theatre 2021
INTERVIEW

Paul Bonner
THE FRIDAY FREEDOM FIGHTERS
October 5th - 16th | 2pm & 7pm
etceteratheatre.com

Tearaway’s Brian and best pal, Seamus, choose a Ford Transit to London and the building sites of the big city instead of college back home. Days of hard graft lead to nights of alcohol, speed and ecstasy. Clubbing to Prodigy and raving to Faithless, these boys find love, fun and freedom in clubs and raves across the land... but how far will their friendship take them?

 

Hi Paul, thanks for talking to The New Current, how things been?

 

Thanks for asking. I’ve been holding up well, being creative this last five or six weeks, well let’s say it’s been great for the mental health. It’s been tough for all of us in so many different way’s, we’re starting to see some light. I hope you're holding up too?

 

Has this time provided you with any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

Being with David and the creative team has inspired me in so many different ways. Life is mysterious, right? One day it’s this way, the next it’s that! One thing's for sure, it’s made me know where I want to be and that’s within the arts, flexing the creative muscle, instead of my bicep on a building site.

 

You had a great run during Edinburgh Fringe 2018, what did it mean to you to get such a great reaction to your show?

 

In my day to day life I get real joy in tickling people with humour and maybe even giving them a lift, I know it always lifts me! So to be able to try out my work in Edinburgh, and get a good response, to say I was encouraged to pursue the arts is an understatement. I hadn’t done acting for 6 years, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it, or wanted to, it was like a little dream.

 

With The Friday Freedom Fighters being reviving for its London run has much changed or been adapted since your original run?

 

Funny I picked up the first draft this morning while having a clear out. I had a little flick. The crux is there, but it’s changed a lot, in small but significant ways. It’s a lot more grounded and has a better flow & rhythm, I think being with David and collaborating in the last four weeks has a lot to say for this.

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Can you tell me a little bit about The Friday Freedom Fighters, what was the inspiration behind your play?

 

The short answer is…my life. I wrote the title before I wrote the play…I have a confession to make…I told the Edinburgh Free fringe a lie back in early 2018. I said the Friday Freedom Fighters was a two man play and that I’d already written it. In fact, I think I gave them a synopsis of the show. The truth is I hadn’t written anything, but I needed to get my foot in the door! It became a one man play when I realised it would be easier to cast, and cheaper! The “other actor” needed to “pull out”…so I did a “rewrite”…I’ve since given up lying, it’s a terrible habit.

 

When I started writing, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write. It just came out in a state of “flow”- and a lot of it is lived experience with a lovely portion of fiction.

 

What has been the most valuable lesson you've both taken away from staging The Friday Freedom Fighters?

 

Always sleep on it when making big decisions like building a creative team. I’m quite impulsive, which has its positives but, with big decisions, sleep on it. Be open to new ideas, enjoy each moment!

 

What has it been like for you working with your director David Frias-Robles?

 

David is different class. Different class. Every day I would learn something new and have fun. He was an absolute joy to work with and he made the space an environment to be vulnerable and free. I’ve worked with a few top directors, David’s up there. Top draw. He’s one of the reasons I’m sticking with the arts, the last four weeks or so, well, I’m buzzing. Grateful-to have worked with him.

 

The Friday Freedom Fighters London run is in support of CALM Mental Health charity, how important is this type of association for you?

 

A lot of people are taking their own lives, young people, all over the world. Mainly men. It’s one of the worlds biggest killers. Suicide. Young men like my mate Robert who took his own life. So CALM means a lot. In truth they’ve only been on my radar for a short time, but I’ll be trying to help out in the future and get involved where I can.

Have you always had a passion for theatre?

 

No. I was passionate about the Theatre of Dreams when I was a boy. Do you know it? I did have a passion for acting though, although I probably called it “acting the goat”…to my family and friends…at school, acting the goat, in the class and outside was my passion. I fell in love with theatre in my mid twenties, when I went to drama school. It was all new for me, I loved it, and still do. There’s nothing like great theatre. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life working in it…we live in hope.

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"There’s nothing like great theatre. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life working in it…we live in hope."

Do you have any advice for any emerging theatre-makers?

 

Go for it! There’s so many venues around London for us to try out our work. Don’t be put off if a door is closed, one will open. There are a lot of good people out there willing to help and get the show on the road!

 

And finally, what do you hope your audiences will take away from The Friday Freedom Fighters?

 

A fun evening that touches the heart in many ways…let’s not be afraid to open up and be honest with our loved ones, lets share what’s going on inside…