‘One Of The Most Challenging Roles I’ve Played’ – Clifford Samuel Talks ‘A Guide For The Homesick’

Clifford Samuel’s latest theatre role takes him out of his comfort zone and places him in an Amsterdam hotel for Ken Urban’s play A Guide For The Homesick.

Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Clifford to find out more about his role in the play and the challenges that have come with it.

Q: You star in Jonathan O’Boyle’s new production of Ken Urban’s play ‘A Guide For The Homesick’. Tell us about your character Teddy and the position he finds himself in?

A: Teddy is a very self assured, good-humoured man. Born and raised in Harlem, NYC, and works in finance. He is on a city break visiting Amsterdam. He finds himself confined in the small sanctuary of a hotel room on a very cold and rainy night in Amsterdam with a stranger. They slowly discover and reveal to each other their hidden secrets they’ve been harbouring personally and they delve into the complexities individually.

Q: The play has been described as an erotic thriller filled with secrets, doubts, confessions. What themes does the play explore?

A: The play explores a range of themes that we can all identify with in today’s society. Identity crisis, guilt, shame, fear of failure, mental health, not able to fully confront one’s past, love, betrayal.

Q: What is Jonathan looking to bring this production that we may not have seen before? And how has this effected your approach to playing Teddy?

A: Jonathan will be bringing a subtle direction which will increase the power of the production with the design of a minimal set. This has assisted me in playing Teddy as the attention to the detail in the script and having Jonathan guiding us will help amplify the story’s intensity and relevance.

Clifford Samuel and Douglas Booth in ‘A Guide For The Homesick’. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Q: What has it been like working with Douglas Booth so far? What is your chemistry like on stage?

A: Doug has simply been brilliant to work with. Wonderfully enthusiastic and instinctive. His intelligence, positive energy, generosity and passion to tell the story of this play has been uplifting throughout.

Q: What can we expect from the staging?

A: The staging has been designed and staged so authentically, you should feel like you’re in the same hotel room and experiencing the journey the characters goes through.

Q: How does this role of Teddy compare with other theatre roles you have had in the past?

A: Teddy is a fantastic role and it’s up there as one of the most challenging roles I’ve played. Due to the nature of the play being a two-hander, the role requires an incredible amount of concentration and has taken me out of my comfort zone, which is what attracted me to the role and play.

Q: Outside of theatre, you recently had a role on BBC’s ‘McMafia’. How did you find that experience?

A: It was brilliant to collaborate with all the different departments on the big-budget drama McMafia. From our director, James Watkins, show creator, Hossein Amini, to the costume and makeup department all were very open to all my ideas on building my character, Femi, and were equally as passionate about serving the story. The pleasure and excitement of filming in a lot of the beautiful locations was thrilling.

Q: Are you looking to do more on-screen work?

A: Yes, and I’m absolutely looking forward to continue to challenge myself with more on-screen work in the near future.

Q: Finally, what should audiences expect from A Guide For The Homesick?

A: Audiences should expect to be immersed in a beautifully multi-layered story that is complex, thought-provoking, incisive, powerful and a thrilling journey!

You can catch Clifford in ‘A Guide For The Homesick’ at Trafalgar Studios until 24 November

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