Nearly 60 years ago, Lyndon B. Johnson would become the 36th President of the United States (1963 to 1969). His presidency would witness the ‘War on Poverty’ – allowing for millions of Americans to earn above the poverty line and the signing of various Civil Rights bills banning racial discrimination. That moment in time would also witness the formation of the Civil Rights Movement – a fight for equal rights. Fast forward to 2019, and Donald Trump’s rhetoric couldn’t be anymore jarring from these efforts made in terms of bringing communities together. Controversial in his delivery and approach, there is no doubt that Trump is a polarising figure. Set in ‘69, yet resonant today, celebrated playwright August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize nominated play Two Trains Running is adapted by the English Touring Theatre, and is currently on a UK tour. Taking on the role of Sterling, Michael Salami tells us more about the show.
Hi Michael, you’re currently starring in the English Touring Theatre’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running. How are you finding the tour so far?
Amazing – I’m learning so much. Being the youngest in the cast, it is such a privilege to see the older actors work; I’m learning something new every day.
You play Sterling in the production, can you describe his character?
Sterling represents a new generation who act on action, refuse not to settle for second best, and fight for their rights.
How did you prepare for the role?
I spoke to a couple of family and friend in the U.S. and watched tons of documentaries.
I studied August Wilson at drama school and havealways been a fan of his work. To have the honour to play a role about the black experience, and things I relate to everyday is an opportunity I jumped at.
The production is directed by Nancy Medina, can you describe the rehearsal process?
Nancy has offered a beautiful perspective, when reading the play initially I interpreted it one way and after being with Nancy she opened my eyes to a different way of looking at the text. Being an African American womanherself really brought a fresh and dynamic look at the text and also helped us really dig deep into the character from day one of rehearsals.
What can audiences expect from the show?
They can expect a universal experience of issues that are still relevant today as much as they were when the play is set.
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
Two Trains Running is currently showing until Saturday 26th October 2019 and is on tour. To find out more about the production, visit here…