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Behind the curtain: An Interview with Casserole writer James Alexandrou

Photo credit: NFTS cinematography

Actors East Theatre, innovative acting studio, is premiering its first ever show Casserole at the Arcola Theatre in March.

The first play by innovative London acting studio Actors East, developed over 5 years of improvisational workshops, Casserole is a blisteringly funny and emotionally raw one-act play that looks at how grief causes people to hide from each other within a relationship.

I got the chance to speak to Writer and Director of the show James Alexandrou to find all about this new production.


What is Casserole about? 

It’s about what happens when you catch the one you love eating the last meal your mum made for you before she died!

It’s about repressed and ignored feelings between a couple fighting to discover whether there’s still love there. 

It's been a year since Kate's mum died. She went into overdrive - went back to work, ostensibly successfully, Dom stayed at home and out of work, developing chemical dependencies - I mean, who really knows what you’re meant to do with grief? This play looks at two people trying to work that out. 

It's a recognisable situation to anyone that’s been in a long-term relationship, you’ve both become experts in avoiding what's really going on - Casserole looks at what happens when you’re forced to look… 

What was the inspiration behind the show?

Hmmm. Not sure how to answer these kind of questions… erm. Like just wanting to make stuff with people I love. Then there’s the brilliant idea Dom had (the eating the last meal thing) - it was like, yeah, that’s good - let's keep that going!

What influenced you to tell this story on stage? And how important do you think it is in today’s society?

I had never made anything for the stage before, felt like I probably should. And How important is it in today society? No idea! It's important that things are spoken about, not lectured about in theatre. I guess that’s important as I think that’s being forgotten Theatre should be dialogue - not a place to tell an audience how to be. 

The subject matter of the show covers subjects people find hard to talk about.  What are the major takeaways you want the audience to learn after seeing the show?

I just don’t know. I genuinely don’t really consider these things when making stuff. It's more about myself authentically prodding away at something that I find hard to talk about and the play is the result. So where I am at the moment with it is about the value of listening in a relationship - that we must fight rigorously to listen (not to be heard!)

What is it like performing in a show you were part of writing? And how did you feel when you were co-writing?

It's been incredible to be honest. I took on the role of Dom very late in the process after the original actor stepped away - but because we'd all been working on it so closely I felt like I knew the character and it was a joy to give it a go. 

How important is Actors East to upcoming writers of theatre and film for the future?

You can come to AE and make stuff for pennies. If you are unfunded and just want to try something you can. I don’t see that anywhere else. I think that’s invaluable. 

What advice would you give to any writers who maybe don’t know how to start putting their work out there?

Come to Scene night at AE, find some actors to say your words. Bring it to the next Scene Night - and then your work is out there. 

Essentially - just do it. 

What is the biggest challenge about being only a cast of two?

You’re on all the time. Which is also the joy of it!

Where would you like to see the show in the next 2-3 years?

Woah. No idea. Just taking each day as it comes. Maybe a nice little UK tour?!


Writer and director James Alexandrou comments, "Casserole is the first play to transfer from my little Black Box Theatre called Actors East in Dalston. There is a talented underground unseen pool of incredible film and theatre makers in London that don’t have access or opportunity, and AE is an attempt to bridge that gap. Casserole is a result of that attempt. It was made in collaboration with every scratch night attendee as well as its three co-writers/actors. It is about

death and love, and was made with love that almost killed us. It is actors in a room talking, good material, heart, and a little props, and it’s f*cking great."



Arcola Theatre

Tuesday 5th March – Saturday 30th March 2024

Monday – Saturday 7:00pm

Saturday matinees 3:00pm

Tickets Tickets are available from £20

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