We caught up with director Giorgio Spiegelfeld to get all the rehearsal gossip from Suddenly Last Summer, The Glory’s first ever play which opens soon on Monday 20th of July for just six performances…
So Giorgio, how are rehearsals going? Is Jonny Woo’s acting up to scratch?
Oh my, he is astonishing. His character Violet Venable is an upper class mother who always maintains a ladylike appearance but there’s this horrible evil woman simmering below on the surface and he gets it just right.
We can’t imagine why you cast Jonny Woo in that role.
Violet has some very delicate scenes and the character has this fine line that Jonny is just brilliant at capturing.
And what about Princess Julia? Some scenesters were a little surprised to learn that East London’s most forthright and timeless DJ club-kid-turned-fash-mag-columnist is featuring in a Tennessee Williams play. We’ve heard rumours that she can put on a lovely rosy voice when required?
Princess Julia is amazing in rehearsals, she is amazing offstage and onstage, I love what she is doing with her part.
Tell us about John Sizzle. Does he wear a cape in the play?
John Sizzle plays a middle-aged mother in a financial crisis. There’s no cape but you can expect amazing legs of course and he’s razor sharp with his observations.
Is there also a Ma Butcher cameo by any chance in this play?
No, it is not Gay Bingo 1930s style, John Sizzle and Jonny Woo obviously have some of their renowned onstage chemistry but it takes a guise that you’ve never seen before.
Ginger Johnson is in this play too, billed as Little Jimmy Johnson! Do his Sink The Pink acting skills rise to the occasion?
Well since he’s started showing up to rehearsals yes – he’s been on top form. I think it took him a week to recover from Glastonbury.
That makes sense. The last time we saw him he was dressed as a lobster on the roof of NYC Downlow telling Somerset he was Emili Sande.
He’s a force of nature! Ginger plays Georgie Holly, an ambitious youngster, so quite a good fit I think.
As well as directing you also play a handsome doctor in the play, is that right?
Haha. I play Dr. Sugar yes, the lobotomiser…
Let’s talk about lobotomy actually, it features in the play and is kind of… er… scary?
Oh completely, it’s a really awful thing and it is still being done today in cases of extreme schizophrenia. I’ve been researching into it a lot and as recently as 2013 there are reports of people saying they would have a lobotomy operation if it could cleanly remove their homosexuality.
So it’s a cutting away of parts of the brain…
You lift the eyelids and with a very thin knife, like an ice pick, go in and cut certain nerve endings yes, leaving the person like a living vegetable basically, it’s totally inhumane. JFK’s sister was lobotomised, some say because she was too radical, and allegedly a member of the Thai royal family was lobotomised for being a lesbian, it’s a very controversial field. They used to lobotomise children who were too hyperactive, seriously mentally disabling them for the rest of their lives. The whole area ties in with homosexuality and counter-culture and The Glory’s basement is the perfect place to explore this subject, in a play with a cast of drag stars!
Jeffrey Hinton is doing some fancy stuff with video and sound too for this play. What can audiences expect?
We can’t say too much right now actually about Jeffrey’s art, you’ll have to wait until opening night, but yes he’s using complex layers of sound and video, managing two projectors and a live a camera. I can’t say anymore without giving stuff away, but it’s very special what Jeffrey’s doing and it adds new dimensions onto the play. Audiences will love it.
Should people see the Elizabeth Taylor film before seeing the play?
No it’s not necessary, but if you have seen it – don’t worry, you’ll still have a great time.
Now on a quick side note Giorgio, you’re also appearing in the final of Mister Glory next week [Jonny Woo asked Giorgio to enter Mister Glory’s first heat \as a goodwill gesture and he ended up winning it – meaning he now has to appear again in the final on the 15th!]
Yes I am! And I’m going to win it of course!
In your first Heat you did a performance of Yackety-Yack, inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, in which you poured bottles of sparkling water down your open chest. Will you be repeating this next Wednesday?
Most likely a variation on that yes!
And will the fetching gold Max Allen swim trunks be returning?
Max Allen is designing something new for me to wear for the swimwear final actually!
We don’t know what excites us more, you in the MISTER GLORY final or your play in the basement.
Well luckily you can have it all and attend both!
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is on sale now. There are only 35 seats per performance and only six shows (July 20-22 ans 27-30)
The MISTER GLORY GRAND FINAL is free entry and takes place here on Wednesday the 15th July.
Words and interview by Jack Cullen.