Eastbourne actor Tim Marriott will be Waiting For Hamlet

Tim Marriott is relishing the return to a live audience as he brings Waiting For Hamlet to the stage at The Grove Theatre Eastbourne (Friday, October 23, 7.30pm).

Monday, 19th October 2020, 6:00 am
Tim Marriott
Tim Marriott

“Hands up to (artistic director) Steve (Scott) and the team at the Grove for getting through this and making something happen,” Tim says.

“Luckily they have got the space there to be able to do the social distancing, but really to be able to do anything at all at the moment is terrific.”

The winner of the 2018 Kenneth Branagh New Drama Writing award, Waiting For Hamlet comes from the pen of Eastbourne writer David Visick.

Tim will share the stage with Nicholas Collett – the perfect play for our socially-distanced times, a piece which they were going to take to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer – a piece which they would probably have performed 50 or 60 times by now. The piece is a prequel to Hamlet. The old king has just been poisoned, and he has arrived in the afterlife and is greeted by his old friend Yorick.

“The problem is that the king wants to go back to the old world and set things right. Murdered by his brother, the king refuses to take it lying dowb. Much of the play is about the king wanting to go back and Yorick pointing out that he can’t. Yorick is saying ‘Don’t you realise you can’t do that.’ It is very witty. It is very funny. It is quite cerebral in places, but it is basically two old fools making fools of themselves with lots of Shakespeare thrown in.”

Tim was in Australia when the pandemic struck: “I was at the Adelaide Festival and going on tour to Melbourne and Tasmania. The Australians were so quick at shutting everything down.

“Like everyone else, I lost that tour. I was also supposed to be going to Florida and I was going to Germany and Austria. Everything just collapsed. But really you have just got to try to work differently, and that’s what I have tried to do.”

After the Edinburgh Fringe was cancelled, [email protected] regrouped to create a new online event. Tim was among the first people the army called to take a key role in a three-week series of online arts festival events being organised by the army, part of a virtual fringe which offered more than 40 free films, live-from-home performances, workshops, rehearsed readings and discussions.

“And I was lucky with new stuff which also knocked on into the business world. I was able to do a little bit of corporate film work, filming properties for property companies. I was also able to expand that into other areas and also making some audio recordings. We are very fortunate to have a garden shed that I could use. We did the original audio recording of Waiting For Hamlet.”

Now it comes to the stage at last.

“Nick is an old friend of mine, but we have never actually acted together. What we are wanting to do is to keep the play alive and be prepared for when things ease up which we hope will be next spring or summer. We really want to be able to take it out to festivals… though if they happen, festivals will obviously be very different next year.

“But the piece is very transportable. It is just the two of us on a bare stage with just a couple of boxes. It’s an hour long, and when theatres start coming back, it is going to be the kind of thing they are looking for – self-contained pieces that are an hour in length that play straight through…”

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