Alex Wingfield (Silas and ensemble), Florence Russell (Mum and ensemble), and Guido Garcia Lueches (Grandad and ensemble) take a break from rehearsals to chat about The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Have you worked with tutti frutti or any of the cast and creatives before?
Alex: I’m very excited to get going on the back of working at York Theatre Royal on Swallows & Amazons during the summer. It’s great to stay here with a new company and new people and something new to get my teeth into.
Florence: This is my first acting job so I’ve never worked with any of the team and looking forward into getting into it and meeting new people.
Guido: I have not worked with them before at all. But their reputation preceded them because a few of my acting friends did know about the company and highly recommended them to me.
What is The Boy Who Cried Wolf about and who do you play?
Alex: I am playing Silas, who is the boy who cries wolf. It’s an adaptation of the Aesop’s Fable set in a small rural place within a family setting where not a lot happens.
Florence: I am playing Silas’s mother and she is essentially living with her father and her son, raising him pretty much on her own.
Guido: I am playing Granddad who also helps raise the boy I’m sure at some point. He’s a shepherd so he’s been going out into the mountains with the sheep every winter until he can’t any more because he’s too old and it’s time for Silas to take over, to take the baton so to speak. Then we meet some sheep who we also play and villagers. We play those as well. We have fun with several different characters.
Describe your character or characters in three words (or statements!)
Alex: Silas is a dreamer. He’s curious. And he’s bored.
Florence: The mother is a busybody. She’s incredibly caring. And a wonderful knitter.
Guido: Granddad is tired. He loves nature. And he’s quite headstrong.
What’s your favourite children’s story?
Alex: it would have to be a Roald Dahl story. I used to love George’s Marvellous Medicine.
Florence: Again, Roald Dahl The Twits is a favourite of mine.
Guido: I was always a fan of Danny the Champion of the World. It has become your favourite Roald Dahl this question.
Tell us about the music and songs
Alex: It’s quite eclectic. Dominic Sales is our musical director and the music has a sort of folk feel to it, that’s based on the instrumentation we use. Also there is some variation – the sheep do baa-arber’s shop singing which is quite fun.
Florence: We’ve all trained in musical theatre with our instruments on the side. The music has been great to start learning. A lot of close harmony stuff. On the folky side.
Guido: We had a full day yesterday learning all of the music which is quite a lot. I was surprised. It’s a lot of fun, it’s very playful and allows us to goof around and play with different styles and vibes.
Any difference playing to young audiences and adult audiences?
Alex: You approach everything differently. Something to always be aware of in children’s theatre is to never patronise anybody, never play down the imaginationTake everything seriously and have fun obviously but treat it in a sensitive way.
Florence: The importance of the storytelling and the plot comes in a lot in children’s theatre and allows you to fully perform for them. There’s a lot less pressure to find all this deep, gritty stuff because it’s on the surface the kids want. Surface storytelling and easy to watch in a sense.
Guido: I always find young audiences to be more ruthless than adults in the sense they will be very honest about they feel about a piece. If they love it will let you know. If they are bored they will start talking or shouting or crying. They give back so much more as well but you can’t let your guard down for a second.
Any connections with York or anywhere on tour?
Alex: I appeared in Swallows & Amazons at York Theatre Royal over the summer. I grew up in Cambridge so am looking forward to taking the show to Cambridge.
Florence: This is the first time in York for me – it’s a lovely place to be and the York theatre is just beautiful. Like Alex I am also from Cambridge so it will be great to perform there. The Junction is one theatre I’ve never performed in so that will be very nice.
Guido: I am from South America and the tour doesn’t go there. (Yet!). I have been to York only on holiday but I did spend a semester in Leeds back when I was doing university as an exchange student. Tutti frutti is based in Leeds and we get to spend a few weeks there on tour so I am excited to go back there.
Tell us about …
Alex – working as a voiceover artist.
Voiceover-wise I do a lot of educational stuff and audio books primarily aimed at children’s audiences because I’ve got a slightly young voice I suppose. I do get a lot out of narrating children’s stories and that filters into this environment too on stage.
Florence – the National Music Theatre.
I’ve been part of the National Music Theatre since I did 13! the Musical with them when I was 13 or 14. Since then I’ve performed with them regularly and recently have been assisting on the choreography on two of their shows. They are a great company, especially for kids who are starting out. There’s a really professional atmosphere and you meet so many amazing creatives and up-and-coming creatives as well. They have a new show every year, which is a commissioned show, and there are young composers and writers who write for the company. It’s a really family orientated company and been a lovely thing to be part of. I’ve just graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where I took a three year degree. It’s a fantastic school and the fact that it’s a conservatoire means that we had wonderful music teachers and dance teachers, and the acting was great as well.
Guido – how you got started in acting
I grew up doing theatre at school in musicals and all that kind of thing. So I guess the UK was always one of those places that you look at as originating a lot of the stuff that you grew up with. So it was always on my mind to come here and try my luck.
Why should people come to see The Boy Who Cried Wolf?
Alex: I think it’s going to be a really fresh, exciting take on a classic that’s going to inspire people and make kids think and enjoy themselves.
Florence: This show covers a lot of emotions and there’s a lot of humour in it. The sheep specifically are very funny. It’s one for the family. Of course it’s aimed at children but it’s heartwarming. Parents can watch it and really appreciate the familial atmosphere.
Guido: From the title already it’s quite recognisable what it will be about but hopefully we can bring surprise elements to that. I am definitely here for the sheep but there are some more scary elements with the wolves. We are hoping we can bring that extra layer of stuff.
To see where The Boy Who Cried Wolf is touring to this autumn please click HERE.