INTERVIEW: Charlie Condou from The Crucible
Charlie Condou is a popular figure both in and outside the world of performing arts. He’s appeared in many television shows spanning back to the mid ’80s. His most famous role is mide-wife Marcus Dent off Coronation Street with two prominent stints on the soap. Condou has endless popularity and has won plenty of awards whilst working with the LGBT community such as being an active supporter of Manchester Pride. Here we see him take on the role of Reverend Hale in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, so we thought he could have a chat to him about his upcoming theatre adventure.
What attracted you to feature in The Crucible?
I studied The Crucible when I was at school so I’ve known the play for a very long time. I’ve always wanted to be in it because I think its an incredible piece of theatre. The part for me is such a brilliant character Reverend Hale, who is also the witch hunter, is kind of an iconic classic character really and he’s someone that I have always wanted to play. So yes, those two things I suppose.
What attracted you to the theme of witchcraft? Even back then?
I wouldn’t say it was anything that attracted me to the theme of witchcraft, but it was more about being in the play and Arthur Miller’s script. It is a fascinating subject and I think its a fantastic piece of drama. It is certainly chilling because of the witchcraft.
What are the main similarities you have with Reverend Hale?
I don’t know if I have many similarities with the character. Hale is a religious man and I am certainly not. He’s very moral, and even though he comes in quite strong and he’s there to discover witches, he believes he’s doing the right thing by the community. I would like to think that I would do the right thing so maybe that’s something similar.
What attracts you to play the part of Reverend Hale?
The great thing about it is that he has such a fantastic journey without trying to sound to “actorish” about it. It’s always nice to play somebody that always starts off one way and then ends up a completely different person. That’s the real challenge for me to show how he comes in strong and he’s a terrifying man to begin with. He then gradually changes throughout the course of the play because he’s racked with guilt and tries to kind of resolve everything but he is helpless. That’s kind of his downfall really and for that reason it is a fantastic part to play.
What makes The Crucible withstand the test of time?
I don’t know really. It’s a fantastic drama and the story is essentially is very good, but what’s great about it is that you can apply the theme to any period of time. When you see what’s going on in America with Trump it is interesting when you see somebody just say something and then a whole community of people will believe it. We are living in an era of post truth and alternative facts along with the rest of it, and that is what happens in the play. It’s interesting hearing those kind of conversations coming from the audience after they have seen the show.
What’s the best compliment you have ever had with your performances like The Crucible?
People seem to really enjoy the play! I mean it’s a classic piece of theatre anyway, but there is nothing worse than a bad production of a well loved play and we can safely say after seeing the reviews that we’re in a good production. People just seem to respond pretty well to it and they’re enjoying it. They’re really liking the performances so that’s always nice to hear.
How could you persuade someone to see The Crucible if they have never seen it before?
Well for that very reason I would say “come if you haven’t seen it because its a classic play!” Its a play that everyone should see because there are so many similarities to what is going on today. We’re very lucky that we’re in a good production and that sails along and seems to be keeping people gripped from the opening scene.
What’s your favourite scene from The Crucible?
I wouldn’t say that I have got a favourite scene in particular, but for me its all about journey of the character. It is about that progression which is the most interesting thing for me as I don’t really have a favourite scene.
With Hale, did you put any research into the Hale himself?
I did yes as he was a real person. There’s only so far that you can go with that because you can catch yourself out. The most important thing is to serve the play. While it was based on true facts and it is a real piece of history with real people, there are are a lot of liberties that have been taken so you don’t want to go too far down to what he was an actual person because that might conflict with something that is in the actual play. It was really interesting to find out who he was, learn about his life and where he stood along with the rest of it. After a while, you put all that to one side and just concentrate on the test.
Where do you prefer acting, on the stage or on television? Is there any difference to you?
I don’t really have a preference. They’re incredibly different and the great thing about being on tele is that you can do it again after you mess it up! Being on stage you’re out there on your own, if you mess it up you have got to sort it out all by yourself. Having said that, you get such a fantastic response from live theatre and being in front of an audience and the adrenaline buzz is really incredible. I like both, I really couldn’t say that I prefer one over the other.
Have you ever played a character similar to Hale in anything previously?
I don’t think I have. I have played religious men before, but not people quite like him so that is a real challenge in itself. It’s always nice to play somebody who is different to yourself who is struggling and conflicted in life.
Can you relate any personal moments in your life to Hale?
Well he is a very moral man and very good man underneath it all so I would like to think that I am too. I always try to do the right thing I think and that’s underlining causes that he’s trying to help and what he thinks is right. He is essentially a very good man and you can draw your own experiences from that.
Would you ever perform at Broadway if you given the chance?
Sure, if I was offered a part on Broadway I would be there in a shot!
What would be the ideal Broadway play or musical you would want to feature in?
I don’t know, to be honest I think it would be fun to take The Crucible over to Broadway because I think they would enjoy it a lot. Miller is American, and it’s a classic American play, so yes maybe we could take this production over there.
Do you like any other work that Arthur Miller has done?
I haven’t seen much of his stuff actually. I haven’t seen anything else yet so just The Crucible.
What is the best character that you have ever played?
I did a TV series called Nathan Barley and that had one of my favourite characters called Jonatton Yeah? and that was one of my favourites. There’s loads, I’ve enjoyed them all.
Would you ever revisit Marcus Dent (Coronation Street) again?
Sure absolutely! I would never rule out returning to Corrie. I wouldn’t work out for me at the moment and they haven’t asked me either so I don’t think its an issue at the moment. If they asked me in the future I would certainly be up to it, but it’s not right for me now.
What attracted you to perform in the second series of Unforgotten?
I saw the first series and it was an incredible piece of television. I was desperate to be a part of it. It was fantastic when the offer came through and I was really excited. They only sent me the first three scripts because they hadn’t finished the last three so I accepted the part having only seeing the first three scripts. It was a brave move, but going by their past form in the first series I was in safe hands and I think I was right.
Have you had any other things coming up for besides The Crucible and Unforgotten?
Well, I’m going to go on holiday and then I don’t know after that. I’m on cruise until the end of June, but I’m sure something will come up.