An Interview with Actor, Emilio Ianucci
Emilio Iannucci graduated from Royal Central’s Acting, Collaborative & Devised Theatre course in 2015. His on-screen credits include feature film Death of Stalin, Channel 4’s Traitors and web series Gloss. Recent theatre credits include Hello and Goodbye, The Book of Dragons and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Rose Theatre in York. He plays The Ringmaster in the upcoming production of Around the World in 80 Days.
What roles have you played before at York Theatre Royal?
I have been extremely fortunate to have had a quite a wide array of characters to have called York their home. I played Harry in The Book of Dragons back in 2017 – a young boy who, with help of his sister Effie, brought their childhood scrapbook of dragons they had documented when they were younger, to life. There were dragons, there were shadow puppets, there were wellies being thrown. I had a joyous time. I then rehearsed for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth and then Richard III and Romeo & Juliet at the Theatre Royal for the Shakespeare Rose 2018/19 seasons. During the season I played the young king of Scotland, an acrobatic fairy, a particularly fabulous Lord and Romeo. I could talk about these plays for hours. I learnt so much and was surrounded by awe inspiring talent. A dream of a couple of years. In August 2019 I then ventured to a dingy maddened stagnant suburban house in Port Elizabeth in South Africa when playing Johnnie in Hello and Goodbye by Athol Fugard. To this day I think that particular show is the most difficult single thing I have done, the speed of thought and exactness of the chaos within the space of the Studio theatre is like nothing that has ever been asked of me. Even now, heading to rehearsals (in the studio theatre) every time I see the door, I get a strange South African flavoured tingle of nerves. It was a genuinely thrilling thing to have been part of. If you haven’t read it before, next time there’s a rainy day with nothing to do, please give it a mull. You won’t be disappointed.
“Filled me with hope”
You play The Ringmaster in Around the World in 80 Days – do you like circuses, have you ever performed in one?
On the first day of rehearsals we were asking each other what our first memories of circus were. I don’t have a specific image, but I remember the texture of a hay bale I was sat on, my wellies rubbing against my sockless feet and the smell of candy floss. I feel like I was very young and looked at my feet a lot instead of the show. I’m hoping that my ringmaster raises a few heads, and is welcoming to the kids that come and watch (as well as being slightly mad of course.)
You also play Phileas Fogg – how does he fit into this adaptation?
Fogg doesn’t fit into things, things seems to fit around him and his routine. Whilst a lot of the characters in this show are loud and bold, he is content to plough on at his own pace and at his own volume. I admire that he doesn’t worry about how people perceive him. He is a good example of how important it is to get to know someone before judging them too quickly.
What’s the best place you’ve visited and why?
I think with all that has happened this past year and a bit, the first day of rehearsals for this show, and seeing the inside of a theatre again for the first time in so so long, filled me with hope. Right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
And the worst place you’ve visited?
Oh wow, I don’t really know, maybe one of the many UK service stations that seem to have nothing to offer but fast food after a long leg of a theatre tour and all you want is a piece of fruit.
What place do you call home?
At my house in London, sandwiched between wonderful partner Lauren and our year-old sausage dog Bella asleep on the sofa with that screen Netflix only shows you when you’ve blatantly fallen asleep and it needs to check you are still alive before auto-playing the next episode of Friends.
“I get shivers”
What role would you most like to play?
I’m just happy to be here right now. Here’s to whatever comes next.
What’s your most memorable moment on stage?
Being on stage in Macbeth at the Rose Theatre by Cliffords Tower in 2018. I was playing Malcolm in the scene where Macduff has just heard that his wife and children have been brutally murdered. When over the following lines spoken by Macduff…
“O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,
Cut short all intermission; front to front
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
Within my sword’s length set him; if he ‘scape,
Heaven forgive him too!”
… the loudest roll of thunder came, the skies opened and the world fell out. Instant monsoon. It was like being in a film. It was magical. I get shivers thinking about it still.
Finally, your biog says you are ‘a strong enthusiast for climbing trees in his spare time’. Discuss.
Always. Cannot recommend enough. Hoping to use some of these skills in the show, come and see if I do.
‘Around the World in 80 Days’ plays outdoor venues & York Theatre Royal between 6 & 28 August
More information and tickets yorktheatreroyal.co.uk | 01904 623568