tiata fahodzi are renowned for bringing thought provoking narratives to the fore, creating a range of pieces highlighting the black British experience. Their latest piece, good dog, written by Evening Standard Award winner Arinze Kene views the everyday though the eyes of a young boy, the future generation taking in the injustices of today. Ahead of the show’s tour, we spoke to actor Anton Cross who will take on this one man show from mid February. Read on to find out more about how Anton has prepared for the show.
Hi Anton! You’ll be starring in tiata fahodzi’s latest production, Good Dog. How are you feeling ahead of the tour?
I’m very excited. I’ve never done a one man show before and Good Dog packs a punch so I feel honoured as a first timer to be able to share this story.
Could you explain what Good Dog is about?
Good Dog is about many things. It’s mainly about our environments and the people within them that shapes us. It explores this through the notion of good things come to people who do good or even lack thereof. It has multiple themes like bullying, family and community but all are rooted within the various outcomes of cause and effect. The play follows my character ‘Boy’ as he’s trying to come to terms with this part of life which is new to him, not just through his own personal experiences but those of his neighbours, people in his community he encounters and his school peers.
Good Dog is very topical as it observes everyday injustices and multi-culturalism within society. What do you think audiences will take away from the show?
Whenever I read Good Dog I find myself thinking about the lead up to the injustices we experience in London – if Good Dog could make our audiences question the root of these issues that would be great! If not then at the very least be enlightened to a different angle of London that they may not have been exposed to. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Hopefully they’ll be uplifted at the same time.
Could you describe your character?
Boy is simply a thirteen year old who’s growing up. He’s not set on changing the world or trying to save it from danger. He’s certainly not striving to destroy it. He just wants to makes sense of his own life and surroundings. It’s that what I find very relatable.
How are rehearsals going for the show?
No rehearsals as of yet. January 9th is when the whole team finally come together!
How have you prepared for the role?
For riot research there’s tons of information out there on the past and recent riots in London – I know Natalie Ibu, director of good dog has even gone to Tottenham for research. I’m always inspired by music and imagery. good dog is set over the early noughties so I’ve dug up a lot of UK grime and hip hop I was surrounded by when I was in school. Adama Jalloah is a photographer whose work I’ve been following for a while – she’s brilliant at capturing the everyday experience of London in areas such a Peckham where I’m from. Seeing her work immediately gets me in the right headspace.
What drew you to take the role?
There are so many people in the world who are like ‘Boy’, myself included. It’s nice to be able to share this story because these stories and people can have a tendency to go under the radar.
What Advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Jump! Throw yourself all the way in and never ever, ever give up. Hard work always pays off. It can be stressful and believe me we all feel the pressure at times but you always overcome it when you keep working at it. (This is advise I often have to remind myself)
Also, when you’re not acting do everything you can to remain inspired. There’s no end to learning and nurturing your talent. Read every play you can, watch every play/musical you can, go to every gallery/exhibition you can, watch all the films (my Picturehouse membership hasn’t had a day off since I got it). The down side is it’s not cheap – I then advise to beg and borrow, but for the love of all things good DO NOT STEAL! There are lots of great schemes and freebies out there. Honestly I could go on!
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Good Dog will start touring at the Watford Palace Theatre from Tuesday 14th until Saturday 18th February. For more information about the production, visit here…