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IN BED with Adebayo Bolaji and Allyson Brown

In Bed The PlayTwo actors – Nina and Sean – spend a night together to rehearse a play…
What you think may or may not happen is perhaps part of the ‘problem’.
A testing, funny and sexy piece of contemporary theatre.

Co-produced by What Was That? Productions & Ex Nihilo Theatre Group, In Bed will run at the thrilling new venue, The London Theatre Workshop from 15th to 20th September.

Nina will be played by MOBO Award winner, Allyson Brown. Allyson has recently been touring in Snakes & Ladders. She has previously appeared in TV productions such as Secret Diary of Call Girl and is probably best known for her work in Bear Behaving Badly. Allyson’s theatre credits include Les Miserables West End, The Tempest, Antony & Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar for the RSC.

Sean will be played by Adebayo Bolaji. Ade is currently filming a BBC2 feature length drama directed by John Alexander. Other credits include original London casts of Ghost the Musical, The Color Purple, and The Scottsboro Boys, Adebayo also had a featured role in the James Bond film, Skyfall.

In Bed is written, and directed by Adebayo, and is a co-production between Bolaji’s Ex Nihilo Theatre Group, and Alan Mehdizadeh’s company, What Was That? Productions.

Earlier this week, Adebayo Bolaji answered a few questions about In Bed.
I gather you have been filming a BBC2 feature length drama, how do you balance your screen and stage work, and working on new material?
Well, I was filming that earlier in the year and have just done a small bit for the new Russell T Davies series ‘Cucumber’ which will air on Channel four. I only made a short appearance in the latter. Anyway, as to how I balance, I think the underlying element is that I have a genuine passion for it. 

I think when one has a passion for something, it gives you drive, which in turn gives a kind of strength which, also gives a kind of focus and then hopefully balance. It is a lot and is challenging but I enjoy it.

What can you tell us about In Bed – how it came about and the end product?
Well, the play initially came out of personal experience, conversations with people – lots of coffee and wine talking. It centre’s itself around two actors who pull an all-nighter to rehearse a play. However, they don’t really end up doing that but start challenging each other through being in a particular set up. I think its interesting to see what environment and contact does to us. What I mean is, if we place two straight guys in a room, alone, together, what happens? Then, if one places a straight man and a straight woman, alone, in a room together, what happens… and why? What place does convention, beliefs, primitiveness have in these circumstances? How do we interpret this, and again why? 

With this idea, the play has turned out to be (at least I think) a ‘simple’ piece in its set up but engaging… I don’t want to give too much away. We did have it as a kind of workshop four years ago at the Questors Theatre, Ealing with two great actors, but the play has gone through a lot of development since then and tells a different story this time.

What is it like working with Allyson Brown?
Brilliant. I’ve known Allyson for a long time now but never worked with her. She saw the play four years ago and loved it. I then saw her in The Swallowing Dark (another play with just two actors) with Will Johnson at Theatre 503, and thought she was great. I think it’s important to work with someone who likes, and understands the piece and who trusts you but also has a mind/creative process of their own, this solves a lot of potential issues that could arise in a rehearsal process.

There is a lot to see in London’s West End and Off West End, why should everyone get along to see In Bed?
Sometimes theatre pieces can be too long. Half way through a play, I always find audience members shuffling and wondering (despite enjoying the play) when will it end. This piece is about fifteen minutes over an hour, so its not too long. The responses we got from the workshop told us that it is very relevant. How we interpret each other, love, flirtation – men and women is a subject that is constantly being written and talked about – and this is not specific to one age group, so I believe that our audience will find it engaging. Really feel that its something that creates a nice evening/day out, in a new, beautiful theatrical space above an elegant bar-restaurant that serves delicious food. 

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In Bed centres on the relationship of Nina and Sean, two actors who are rehearsing a play. We find that their rehearsal becomes secondary and rather than their play receiving analysis, they both go through an entertaining analysis of their own – in the simple setting of a bedroom.

Adebayo Bolaji & Alan Mehdizadeh have been friends (and collaborators) since 1994. They attended Drayton Manor High School where they performed in school plays and wrote their own material which they would perform in drama festivals. They remain close friends, and continue to collaborate together 20 years later.

‘In Bed’ The Play – Trailer

Ex Nihilo (Out of Nothing) Theatre Group acts as a collective, a collective of artists. Boasting itself in creating new provocative work and ideas mainly through the medium of theatre, but using all forms of the arts to express this. Founded by Adebayo Bolaji whilst studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Ex Nihilo runs along side B.A.S.E (Bolaji Arts School Experimentation) a new school/research centre currently in formation, with the main focus of researching artistic processes and needs… What do actors need ‘today’- this generation?

What Was That? Productions are a professional production company founded by Alan Mehdizadeh. Alan Mehdizadeh is currently playing the role of Big Davey in the West End production of ‘Billy Elliot the Musical’, and also has theatre credits including ‘The Incredible Book Eating Boy’ The MAC Belfast/Cahoots NI, ‘Robin Hood’ The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury/Evolution Productions, ‘Watership Down’, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Tickets on sale now at
Londontheatreworkshop.co.uk

Author

  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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