Amaka Okafor rejoins the cast of Michael Longhurst’s critically acclaimed production of Florian Zeller’s The Son.
The Son is the final part of the critically acclaimed trilogy with The Father and The Mother – Nicolas is going through a difficult phase after his parents’ divorce. He’s listless, skipping school, lying and thinks that moving in with his father and his new family may help. A fresh start. When he doesn’t settle there either, he decides that going back to his mother’s may be the answer. When change feels like the only way to survive, what will he do when the options begin to run out?
Transferred from The Kiln Theatre to the West End, to open at The Duke of York’s Theatre, we spoke to Amaka about her role reprisal …
I’m Amaka Okafor. My father is Nigerian and my mother is Indian. I was born in Birmingham and have grown up all over the UK. I fell in love with acting when I saw the first Beverly Hills Cop. Eddie Murphy is just unbelievable in that film. At first, I thought it meant I wanted to be a Police Woman, but then I realised I just wanted to be him- do what he was doing.
You will be reprising your role as Sofia in Florian Zeller’s The Son in its transfer to the West End at Duke of York’s Theatre, the production run at Kiln Theatre received critical acclaim, you must be very excited about this transition? Are you at all nervous?
Yes! I want it to be as good, if not better than before. We’re one preview down and it already feels better.
Can you tell us about your character Sofia and her importance in the play? What made you say yes to the part?
Sofia is emotionally very strong. She’s a realist with a deep well of love to give. I enjoy playing her so much. She sees the truth when others are too emotionally involved to see clearly. As the step mum, she has a little bit of distance to see the problems. She has also just had a baby and is massively sleep-deprived, so the potential for a slip up is definitely there! I said yes to the role, as I never get to play these parts. I look a lot younger than I am (as us brown people often do), so tend to play much younger characters. This is the first time I’ve been able to be on stage and fully be who I am without having to pretend. It’s been amazing to be able to do that.
The Son deals with themes of the effects of co-parenting throughout a difficult divorce on all involved, how do you think the audience will relate to this play’s narrative?
My parents separated when I was 9, I think I have a pretty deep understanding of this subject matter and many of the audience will have too.
What have been the best and most challenging parts in working on this production?
The best parts have been how free I’ve been able to be. The most challenging, the subject matter is quite close to home in parts.
The Son is the last in a trilogy written by Florian Zeller, The Father, The Mother and The Son which all share core themes, have you seen any of the other productions? If so what was your take on them and did they help you to further understand and develop your understanding of the characters and themes of a shattered mind?
I was gutted to miss the other shows. The theme of shattered minds is so on point though. I feel as I grow older, we all go through these life events that feel like they shatter us, or break us apart. Putting yourself together is tough. Art helps us do that. That’s why I think ‘The Son’ is brilliant.
Do you have plans to move into other areas of the creative industry? If so where and in what capacity?
I write music and sing. I’m also writing a play. Let’s see!
Three of your favourite acting moments so far?
The Son, The Split (season 2), Bird (a one-woman show I did, written by Laura Lomas).
The Son runs until 2nd November 2019. Find out more and book tickets here.