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Interview with Tony Jayawardena from the cast of The Invisible Hand

The Invisible HandThe Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar who wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning Disgraced which ran at the Bush Theatre in 2013. The Invisible Hand is at the Tricycle Theatre from Thursday 12th May 2016 to Saturday 2nd July 2016.

American banker Nick Bright knows that his freedom comes at a price. Confined to a cell within the depths of rural Pakistan, every second counts. Who will decide his fate? His captors, or the whims of the market?

Ayad Akhtar’s intense political thriller lays bare the raw, unfettered power of global finance in this fast-moving, contemporary play directed by the Tricycle’s Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham.

Tony Jayawardena plays Imam Saleem. His theatre credits include Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre), The Roaring Girl, The Arden of Faversham, The White Devil, The Empress, Twelfth Night (RSC), Dick Whittington, Love and Stuff (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Wind In The Willows (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadler’s Wells/ Kneehigh), Great Expectations (English Touring Theatre), The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal and Derngate, Northampton), London Assurance, All’s Well That Ends Well,England People Very Nice (National Theatre). For television his recent work includes The Windsors, Strike Back, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; and for film, his work includes Towerblock, Trance and A Cat Named Bob.

Tony recently took time out to answer a few questions about The Invisible Hand.

Tony Jayawardena
Tony Jayawardena

You are in cast of the political thriller The Invisible Hand. Was there anything in particular that attracted you to the production?
As soon as I read the script I started getting excited about the play. The writing was brilliant and it came as no surprise to me that our author was awarded the Pulitzer prize for drama. Then there was the opportunity to work with Indhu Rubasingham at the Tricycle Theatre. They have both been on my wish list so when Indhu offered me the job I jumped at the chance.

What can you tell us about the story of The Invisible Hand?
The story revolves around the kidnap and ransom of an American bank official in Pakistan. When the ransom isn’t forthcoming the banker persuades his kidnappers that he can raise the ransom amount using the skills of his job.

You play the role of Imam Saleem. Can you tell us about him and how he fits into the storyline?
Imam Saleem is the head of the group that is responsible for the kidnapping. He is a man that has been shaped by the tragedy and corruption he has seen all his life. But as his group gets more powerful can he avoid the same pitfalls that he has been fighting against or does absolute power corrupt absolutely?

Do you have set process to go through when learning lines for a new character?
I mainly learn my lines by repetition but I try to not learn them before we have gone through the scenes at least once. The words are easier to learn when they come with a clear physical picture of where I am in the scene and when we have decided the specific intention behind them.

Why should people spend their hard-earned money on going to see The Invisible Hand?
People should come and see The Invisible Hand because it is a gripping story written by phenomenal writer and produced by a team of immensely talented people headed by a director who continues to go from strength to strength in Indhu Rubasingham.

The Invisible Hand
Thursday 12th May 2016 – Saturday 2nd July 2016
The Tricycle Theatre


  • 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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