Interview with Actor Paul Woodson

After the post yesterday with Chris Starkie, we've had a chat with another member of our cast - the immensely talented Paul Woodson, who is playing the fabled Bonnie Prince Charlie.


1) Tell us a little bit about your character in Young Pretender.

I'm playing 'The Young Pretender' who is of course Bonnie Prince Charlie, or Charles Edward Stuart to give him his lesser known 'official' name.The four scenes in the play show us different stages throughout one year of his life, detailing the exremeties of one man's battle for revolution. We see him swing from fearless would-be-conqueror to someone lost and crippled by his own mistakes.

2) What drew you to this project and your character in particular?

It's rare that such good new writing appears. The reason why it's such a great play is because of the fluidity that runs throughout the characters' situations. It's a brilliantly well detailed account of how people behave in extreme circumstances. I also love its irreverent take on history. Young Pretender is a play about human cost, not a history lesson, and there can be no apologies for itself.

3) What's been the most challenging aspect of the role?

You have to start 'not acting'. So it becomes an active learning of how to do this play as opposed to how well you can act. You have to hear the quality of the writing, the rhythm and so on... This play needs to be understood as a whole first and that is how to serve it. But it can be very hard to resist your instincts. I've been reminded of how tricky acting can be.

4) Is this your first time at the Fringe? (If yes - what are you anticipating? If not - what have you learnt from previous visits?)

I've been before on two occasions for very short spells but not as a performer. Someone told me to eat a lot of fruit. I think I know what he meant...

5) What inspired you to become an actor?

I got into it later than usual and I think that's why I'm still doing it. Acting gives me a young adult's perception of a world with no limitations. This understanding became a real thrill and gave me a sense of place in the world.

6) If you could work with anyone, who would it be?

Mark Rylance, in a Simon Stephens play at the Royal Court directed by my mate Ferdy Roberts with Danny Dyer on prompt.


Really insightful answers from Paul there. His enthusiasm for the project is clear and what he's written highlights just how special the script is. I also think his decision to 'not act' is both very clever and shows great team work (the likes of which the real Bonnie Prince Charlie would be proud of! No? Too much..?) Also, let's face it, it's nice to have Danny Dyer make his way onto the blog in some form. That's got to provide some google hits, surely?


Young Pretender

Underbelly (Belly Button), Cowgate.

4-28 August


1 Hour