There are so many characters in Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman that often, you don't know where to look. But you'll never not notice Charles Dale and Glenn Speers. Both actors have been with the production since it ran in London, taking over their roles, Father Horrigan and Lawrence Malone, midway through the West End run and reprising their work on Broadway. Before the Tony-winning drama wraps up its engagement on July 7, we asked the pair, who've witnessed the show's journey firsthand, to look back on their experiences as they traveled across the pond.
1. Charles, what is your favorite line that you get to say?
"Forgive me, why am I here?" I've been asking myself that for years.
2. Glenn, what is your cast's best inside joke?
Only when I went on as Tom Kettle and was sitting at the Carney feast did I realize that Sean Delaney, who plays Michael, ad-libs a different line every night, at one specific point. The audience can't hear what he says, but everyone at the dinner table has a good laugh.
3. Charles, what was the worst technical difficulty you experienced during the run, and how was it handled?
Probably the amount of understudies we've had on in the last couple of weeks. I had to work with three different Quinns in two days. You just have to get on with it and listen that bit harder.
4. Charles, what is the most "interesting" present you received at the stage door?
A kiss from Laura Linney and a hug from Henry Winkler, both actors whose work I love.
5. Glenn, who is the coolest person to come see the show?
The coolest person to come see the show is, in my opinion, a dead heat between Robert De Niro and Liam Neeson.
6. Glenn, in terms of audiences, what are the biggest differences between doing The Ferryman in the West End and The Ferryman on Broadway?
US audiences are not as polite. They'll tell the noisy person in front to be quiet. One night, a guy at the back shouted at one of the actors to "speak up!"
7. Charles, with so little time between performances on matinee days, how do you recover in between shows?
Are you mad? Here we get three hours between shows, way more than you get in the UK.
8. Glenn, who are harder to work with: the children or the animals?
Having played Tom Kettle, I have to say one of the geese has been very difficult. Much more difficult than the kids, who are wonderful.
9. Glenn, what is your interpretation of the final moments of the play?
The final moments of the play are a lightning bolt out of the blue which leaves the audience stunned.
10. Charles, in terms of acting style, what is the biggest difference between the original Broadway cast and the newer American company?
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds of the Fifth Amendment! Seriously, it's an impossible question to ask without generalizing. Every actor is different, no matter where they come from.