Q&A with Richard Katz – Tatte in ‘Love and Other Acts of Violence’

A young Jewish physicist and an activist poet meet at a party and fall in love. As society splinters around them, the couple’s struggle to survive erupts into violence.

Richard Katz (Tatte), Love and Other Acts of Violence, Donmar. Credit Helen Murray.
Richard Katz (Tatte), Love and Other Acts of Violence, Donmar. Credit Helen Murray.

Cordelia Lynn’s new play is a subversive and intimate love story about inheritance and the cycles of politics and history.

Cast: Richard Katz (Tatte), Tom Mothersdale (Him/Man), Abigail Weinstock (Her/Baba), and Finley Glasgow and Daniel Lawson share the role of Brother 1, and Alexander Fitzgerald and Charlie Tumbridge share the role of Brother 2.

Our Q&A with Richard Katz

Q: What were your initial thoughts when cast in Love and Other Acts of Violence?
Richard: I really loved the play and, honestly, I thought it was the best piece of new writing that I’d seen in such a long time. When I went and met Elayce (Director), Cordelia (Playwright), and Anna (Casting Director at The Donmar) I just couldn’t stop talking; I guess I was so desperate to say how brilliant I thought it was, how moving, and how it churned up so much in me. I must have seemed like such a crazy person. I came out of the meeting convinced I must have frightened them off… So when I heard it was going to work out, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Q: Can you tell us about Tatte, the character that you play?
Richard: What I feel I should say about him is actually next to nothing. If we get it right, the section of the piece in which he’s involved should hopefully be quite a surprise. So I think I’d rather say nothing about him, if that’s OK…

Q: What is at the heart of the production?
Richard: This is a play that’s very hard to describe. But I would say it’s definitely a love story. Two people who meet and try to build a serious relationship. And, let’s face it, that’s pretty tough at the best of times. But we become aware pretty quickly that, as well as the trials and tribulations of trying to make a life with someone, there are some pressures outside which they cannot control. Societal pressures, political pressures, pressures of faith and of integrity.

The play manages to negotiate all of that terrain without saying specifically where we are, or at what point in time. So the parts of the piece which chime with our here and now are all the more chilling. There are resonances and echoes with our current experiences, but also from other times in our history. And at the centre of all of that, two people. Two people trying to make the right choices.

Q: How does it feel to be performing on stage again after the lockdown(s)?
Richard: Honestly, I can’t quite believe we’re doing it. That people, real people, are going to come and share this with us. It’s just the best. I’ve been lucky enough to have been in a couple of shows this year, but they’ve either been filmed to be shown ‘as live’, or were being streamed live from the theatre, but without a live audience. Nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong at all. And yet, the thing that makes a piece of theatre (in my opinion) is this aspect of sharing, right there and then, in the same room, this experience with a group of other people. Some of whom you may know intimately, but mostly they are a bunch of strangers. It’s such a simple idea, such a beautifully simple notion.

Q: Why should theatregoers get along to see this production?
Richard: There are so many reasons! First and foremost, Cordelia Lynn has written a beautiful, brutal, funny and surprising ninety minutes of some of the best stuff I’ve seen in years. At its heart is a relationship between two characters which Tom and Abigail perform with such integrity and virtuosity that I’m just thrilled to get to watch them every night.

Almost certainly you’re going to do quite a lot of laughing, but a fair bit of crying too. You’ll be asking serious questions of yourself, your choices, and how you might behave when the chips are down.

But not only all of that. You’ll be sat in a room with a bunch of strangers having the self-same experience, asking the self-same questions of themselves. Which at the best of times is such a brilliant, crazy thing. And right now it feels pretty crucial, I think.

*****

Review of Love and Other Acts of Violence

Donmar Warehouse presents
The World Première of
LOVE AND OTHER ACTS OF VIOLENCE
By Cordelia Lynn
Directed by Elayce Ismail; Designer: Basia Bińkowska; Lighting Designer: Joshua Pharo
Sound Designer: Richard Hammarton; Movement Director: Yarit Dor
Casting Director Anna Cooper CDG
7 October – 27 November 2021
Press Night: 14 October 2021 at 7pm
https://www.donmarwarehouse.com/

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