The theatre company, Dirty Protest are currently touring South Wales with a play by Pembrokeshire playwright Mark Williams inspired by Wales’s claim to Star Wars fame.
Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock is a co-production between Wales’ acclaimed new writing company, Dirty Protest, Chapter and the Torch Theatre and takes the 1979 Pembroke Dock building of the full-scale Millennium Falcon as its inspiration.
The production tells the story of a young Star Wars fan Sam, who in 1979 finds out that the Millennium Falcon is being built in his hometown as part of The Empire Strikes Back – with his stepfather helping to build it.
Fast forward to 2014 and Sam finds himself in his 40s, divorced, with a teenage daughter and a career that’s not quite where he wanted it to be. Production of The Force Awakens has just started and the Millennium Falcon is being rebuilt in the same docks; his young and idealistic daughter Lizzie takes it upon herself to get her dad a job on the set.
Ac plays Mike Hay in the production, Dick’s acting career includes Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth for the English Shakespeare Company and television roles in The Office, My Hero, High Hopes and Belonging recently answered questions about his role in Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock.
What attracted you to this production?
The opportunity to tell a true and amazing Welsh story and to work again with Catherine and the Dirty Protest creative team.
Tell us a little bit more about your character?
My main character Mike is an unreconstructed Welsh dock worker. He is left as the sole carer for his young stepchild when his wife dies suddenly. His journey is about the struggle to connect with this boy.
Your character Mike has unexpectedly found himself responsible for young Sam. As a father, can you relate to the tension between wanting what’s best for your kids and letting them find their own way?
Yes. I have three children 16, 14 and 12 years old. There is a real negotiation to be had around letting go whilst remaining present and providing love and support.
What were your own big influences growing up?
Books, theatre, the ability to escape through performance. Funny TV shows involving people like the late Rik Mayall. My own large loving and noisy family.
The building of the Falcon in character Sam’s home town is an enormous thing for him. Did anything that exciting ever happen in your home town?
Cardiff felt very different in the 70s and 80s when I grew up, far from the cosmopolitan place it is now. I spent lots of time feeling I needed to live elsewhere, a need I met as soon as I could. I came back though, with my own kids.
How are you finding the Dirty Protest ‘experience’?
Exciting, funny, emotional, challenging and stimulating. I am lucky to be paid for doing what I love.
‘Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock’ By Mark Williams a Dirty Protest co-production with Chapter and Torch Theatre plays the Torch Theatre on Friday 4 May and Saturday 5 May at 7.30pm
For more details about LightSpeed To Pembroke Dock visit dirtyprotesttheatre.co.uk