When work knows no borders, what’s the cost? Badea’s explosive drama, is a powerful and unsettling portrait of globalisation’s far-reaching grip on our working lives.
A quality assurance officer from France, a call centre manager from Senegal, a factory worker from China, and an engineer from Romania – in four corners of the world, they are all engaged in one struggle: the multinational conglomerate they work for is trying to engulf their every waking moment. The Pulverised is a vital new play about escaping the rat race, overcoming distances and discovering new life.
One of the stars, Solomon Israel is a well-known face in the stage world and for his role in the award-winning web series Brothers With No Game. Taking time out of rehearsals Solomon caught up with #TBB10
1# Tell us about your character in this play The Pulverised?
My character’s world is set in Senegal, where I play a team leader in a call centre in Dakar. He’s a young man who has drive and ambition which doesn’t match his current settings in life. We see his journey as he tries to change that.
2# What made you say yes?
When you sit down and read a play which makes you go through a handful of emotions, it’s a good sign. I read the script and when I finished I took a big sigh, lifted my head and started to think about things in life I’d never thought about before. I was so gripped by the story and the different journeys it takes you on, I had to say yes.
3# How is the theme of the play relevant today?
It’s a powerful and disturbing portrait of globalisation and its far-reaching effects on people’s lives. It explores the depths of suffering amongst people connected to that world and sheds light on how people are living, or I should say coping with the conditions they have been placed in. This is by no means a story about the past but the present day and the living of some across our world right now.
4# Working on a piece that has this political-social element to it, is this representation of the work you want to take on, or are you generally just looking for good characters as part of your acting journey?
I’ve always wanted to just be part of something which I deem to be good. It doesn’t matter to me how deep or how light the material is if I deem it to be good work, which this definitely is. The fact that a piece of work may have a political or social message to it, that doesn’t determine whether I involve myself or not but if it does, and it says what it wants/needs to say well, and intelligently, that’s a plus!
5# How did you find this character – what traits were important, how does he fit into this world; what’s his motivation?
My character has a determination to rise above his current situation and become more than he is now. This is something that you may say isn’t far off from people you may know today and now but it’s the barriers, and the maze-like setting, which I think makes this character’s story so interesting and touching.
6# You’re also in the popular online web series Brothers With No Game, very different from the stage… How did you get involved?
Brothers With No Game is family! It’s so close to home and so cool to work on, every day of shooting is always memorable. I’ve known the four creators of the show for years now, 3 since university and the 4th being my older brother! They’re all hilarious and make the working environment so chilled and relaxed but at the same time professional. It also helps hugely that the material is so well written and shockingly relatable, which is why I think the show is so popular and people find it easy to connect with. I auditioned for the role of Darren, the long-standing friend of the four main guys, who joined at the beginning of season two. Darren is the only brother who has game and is bent on living the bachelor life while his friends constantly struggle with relationships. He’s in some way, comic relief and has some cool storylines coming up in season three which we’ve just finished filming, so watch out!
7# Your CV boasts some strong productions that you’ve been involved in, has finding work been a struggle for you as a British black male actor… what’s been your motivation to keep going?
Thank you. I think I’ve been one of the lucky ones when it comes to finding work. Since I graduated drama school I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled, but I know the journey for every actor is different and you should never compare yourself to anyone else. I’m definitely one of those on the side of ‘pro-America’, just because there is a lot more opportunity out there and a calibre of work which may take you a while to get over here. In terms of motivation, if you love it and you really wanna do it, don’t stop until you’ve achieved it! That’s what I go by. It’s all I need to keep me going.
8# What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received on your career’s journey and from whom?
The best advice I’ve received is a YouTube clip with Julia Roberts talking about advice she received from Denzel Washington about realising that acting is just a job. You may love it with all your soul and want to succeed in it so badly but you should remember it’s just a job; a career. It doesn’t define you and is not who you are as human being, it’s a title and a line of work you do. This was great advice because as actors we tend to dwell a lot on this industry and it consumes us, so much so that you sometimes forget to just live a normal life outside of acting. See your Gran, spend time with your friends (properly), indulge in something other than acting. By doing this, a real sense of peace comes and being at ease, which I think is integral to nailing auditions and getting work.
9# What’s next for you?
Who knows with the life of an actor. I’m just auditioning at the moment but luckily for some really cool stuff, so fingers crossed!
10# Why should we come and see The Pulverised?
It’s a beautiful story about human life that shows how connected but disconnected we are.
The Pulverised runs at the Arcola Theatre, Tuesday 2nd – Saturday 27th May 2017. Find out more here.
Brothers With No Game season 3 returns in summer. Watch the teaser trailer below: