It’s always good to have the opportunity talk to young up-and-coming stars about bold and exciting new projects that are set to hit the stage scene. We were thrilled to sit down with the amazing David Bates and talk about his new show Anyway, which is set to make its mark for a three evening run at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London. In a refreshingly candid interview, we got to grips with David and the wonderful character of Jamie, who he is bringing to life in a show he lovingly wrote and brought to the stage.
If you met someone who didn’t know about your show, how would you describe it to them?
The play’s called Anyway and it’s a one act, one man show written by myself. It concerns one night in the life of an 18-year old gay man called Jamie from Manchester. He is currently on a date, which he does a lot, and he is at that point a lot of young gay men reach where they begin to tire of the faded glamour of the gay scene. In this play, he is beginning to realise that he might be ready for something more than a quick fumble, or a one night stand, but he isn’t sure. It is this quandary that he reflects on throughout the show. Jamie’s date is in the bathroom calling his mother, and while he is gone Jamie observes the restaurant and the guests with the odd wry comment, (and a little bitchiness), and all the kind of gay humour you would expect. However, he begins to ask himself if these other people are really happy and, by extension, is he? There is a lot of comedy and thoughtful observation, but as the wine begins to go down we begin to see Jamie’s guard slip and see the real vulnerable lonely person he is underneath.
You have hinted about Jamie, the character you are bringing to life. Can you tell us more about him?
Basically, when I started to write the play I drew some of Jamie’s character from myself when I was his age, and the situations he finds himself in during the play are loosely based on my own experience, but heightened a bit to translate better on stage. Jamie is an only child and likes to think of himself as cultured. He is also quite attractive, and he knows, it so he can be very sure of himself; and he is also quite selfish and self-centred. He has a tendency to get his ‘trophy’ for the evening, as it were, so when he goes out on a date, he is looking to get something from it; he is looking for sexual gratification. However, underneath all of that he is actually a very genuine and warm person.
Do you think Jamie is a character we can all recognise and relate to?
I’d like to think so because I think there are a lot of single men who are out on the gay scene who can feel quite lonely, and are just looking for someone to go home to at the end of the day, which in some respects could be what Jamie is looking for. But there is still this other side to him which, much like the gay scene itself, is incredibly bitchy, and incredibly ageist and shallow. So, I think Jamie will be relatable because you see people who are like him all the time. He is a young, attractive and sweet man, but also a little bit desperate for attention. He goes out to get attention from men, which is obviously very sexual in nature, but actually what he really craves is something more simplistic and sweet. I do think there are a lot of people who will see this character and relate to who he is, definitely.
What drew you to acting in the first place and, subsequently, to writing your own show?
I’m from a little town called Swinton in Manchester and from a young age I found that I had a talent for all things artistic. I then went on to do a two year acting course in college in Manchester and won a place on the acting course at the Italia Conti Academy. As long as I can remember, this has always been something I loved and wanted to do. In regards to writing, this is actually the first play I have ever written, but I have always enjoyed creative writing and been fascinated by words, and the power they have to transport people to new and exciting places.
If you had your pick of any role past or present, what would be your ‘dream role’?
That’s a really good question. I would quite love to be a part of a production of Martin Sherman’s Bent. I actually played the part of Rudy as part of my showcase and I think it’s an amazing part. I don’t want to market myself as a purely gay actor but it so happens that I just love this part. A lot of the parts I get cast in are for quite vulnerable characters, and Rudy is very much like that. I would also love to play Iago in Othello, just to be an absolute bastard! Really, there are thousands of roles I would love to play and it really is hard to pin down just a few, but really right now I am glad of the work, and happy to have these opportunities. In any character you play, I think you need to find something that excites you about them.
Do you have dating dramas now?
No, not anymore. I am very happy, and a lot more mature about those sort of things now. I look back and I think maybe I was slightly on self-destruct. Rather than just going out and being myself, I would just put on a front, a bit like Jamie does in my show. When I was younger, I used to be quite camp, but not as much these days.
Do you have any plans for the future?
To be honest with you, my big thing right now is this play and, depending on the success of it, I might decide to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe next year or maybe elsewhere, maybe Manchester. Meanwhile, I am continuing to audition for things through my agent. With an acting career, you have no idea what might come up. This show is something I had planned to do for a long while, so that is all that’s on the agenda right now. There are lots of different things which are open to me in the new year so I am just hoping that I can start 2013 on a positive note and see what happens.
Anyway is coming to the Tristan Bates Theatre in London for a three day engagement from 17 to 19 January 2013. Tickets are £9.50 and can be purchased from the theatre website here.