Hard Times‘ Assistant Director Sushil Chudasama is currently on three-month placement at the Coliseum through the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme. Sushil trained as an actor, and in recent years has been drawn to directing. He spoke to us about his connection to the themes in Hard Times and his experience of the multi-roling used throughout the play.
“My dad’s first job was working in a mill in Blackburn. I haven’t had the chance to ask him about it yet, but I’m presuming it was a cotton factory. I remember him telling me about it as a kid. It was very laborious as you can imagine, very long hours, monotonous; and it was very noisy – that was one of the big things he said, really really noisy. After that he worked in another factory, a Philips factory which was on the outskirts of Blackburn, weirdly enough I think it was the biggest manufacturing warehouse. He stayed there for a few years, and then did some odd jobs, working in insurance and things like that and then, started working for the council. My dad used to do a lot of community work – my dad’s like ‘Mr Community’ he knows everyone in Blackburn. Someone suggested he do it for the council and so when he was 35 went back to uni and started doing what he loved for the council, working on community projects.”
In Hard Times, we have seven actors playing a total of 19 different characters, what’s your take on the multi-roling in the play?
“I was an actor for 20 years, still am – but I decided I wanted to do other things as well. As an actor it’s exciting changing character in the blink of an eye. It’s also scary because all the characters have to have a life and seem believable; but it’s means you can show off what you can do as an actor. If you can play five roles in one play it’s a really good showcase of your skills (especially if there are agents in to watch).
As a director, it doesn’t make a difference if an actor is playing one character or five because you are still directing the scenes with the characters in. It shouldn’t change things too much other than building in easy costume tweaks.”
Have you done multi-roling yourself?
“I’ve done it quite a few times actually and I personally really enjoy it. The hardest time was earlier this year at HOME, it was for a show called The Island, The Sea, The Volunteer & The Refugee and was part of the PUSH Festival. I only had one week’s rehearsal and I had to play seven different characters so that was quite scary, because of the time. My characters were also all foreign; four of them were Greek so I had to have four different Greek voices, two of them were women, two men. It was originally a BBC Radio 4 play and all the voices in the play were the people they interviewed. The good thing about that for me was that I only had to imitate the voices of real people, not create them myself.”
Hard Times runs until Saturday 3 June. To learn more about the play or to book tickets click here or phone our Box Office team on 0161 624 2829.