Director Ian Rickson on working with Russell Brand on Shakespeare with ‘Our Little Lives’
Ian Rickson was attracted to Russell Brand’s “articulacy" when they first met, and now the West End director and the British comedian and author have teamed up for a one-man streaming show Our Little Lives: Shakespeare and Me, which is available to stream from 14 July. Tickets for the stream are available here.
“That eloquence made me think that guy has got a brain on him and a soul,” Rickson told London Theatre.
Rickson seems to have a busy dance card, of late. In addition to direction Our Little Lives, he’s also the artistic director of the Re:Emerge season at the Harold Pinter Theatre, which includes its three-show season of works by new playwrights with Anna X, starring The Crown’s Emma Corrin, this month.
Here’s what Rickson had to say about working with Brand, developing a one-man show, and why Shakespeare is personal.
How did Our Little Lives come together?
We’ve explored plays, we’ve explored generating particular projects, but actually the thing that’s been most purposeful is creating a show using the words of Shakespeare and telling the story of your life. And suddenly very quickly we constructed this story through the mythology of your life, from individualism to community through these speeches.
What does it mean to take Shakespeare out of the traditional setting?
Politically to take Shakespeare, a national playwright, away from heritage and academia and try to democratise it and make it feel like a resource for anybody, for me is really exciting
What was the process like of directing a one-person show?
I’ve only ever done one one-person show. I just put all my energy into thinking: What conditions does Russell need to thrive? How can I push Russell?
I guess it’s exciting to work with someone who is shamanic, who draws it from the underworld, from the soul or from the celestial realms and can fly with that. And understand performance in a theatre or in front of a camera is to do with channelling. So I love it.