Interviews from London Below: Inside Cohesion Theatre’s ‘Neverwhere’: Part 1: Joseph Coracle

In Part One of a series of interviews with cast members of Cohesion Theatre Company’s Neverwhere, meet Joseph Coracle.

Patricia: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages and some roles you have played.

Joseph: I’m Joseph Coracle, and my over-inflated ego hopes that you have seen me recently at Silver Spring Stage in Humble Boy as Felix Humble, at Cohesion’s Pillow Book as John, or at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Richard II as the Gardener.

 Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Neverwhere?

Joseph Coracle.
Joseph Coracle.

I love the Cohesion crowd, and absolutely drool over Neil Gaiman, especially the Sandman series.

Had you read Neverwhere prior to being cast in this play? Had you seen the BBC series?

I had not read Neverwhere, but have read it twice since being cast (it would have been three, but my bride was so absorbed in it I hadn’t the heart to take it away from her).

Briefly describe your character for those who may be unfamiliar with the story (no spoilers!).

Briefly, Richard Mayhew is the Arthur Dent of Neverwhere. 

Does this character have any of your personality or character traits? Are there any of Richard’s traits you’d aspire to have?

I think I may have bestowed upon Richard some degree of friendly cluelessness, and I certainly aspire to his courage in the face of big and little obstacles.

Did you have a dialect coach for the show? Your Scottish accent is really good and is consistent throughout the show.

My dialect coach was an excellent YouTube channel that I listened to constantly in the car. I also spoke in the Scottish accent at home to the point where my three-year-old said, “Daddy, don’t talk like that!” at which point I made a dignified retreat.

What were some of the challenges you faced while learning your role and how did you work through them?

One of the toughest things about this role was the pace of the script. In a perfect reflection of this story, Richard’s learning curve is a slow one, and sharply contrasted to the pace at which the other characters and stories move. It was a new challenge, and it helped me learn a lot. I could not have done it without my castmates’ support and Brad’s trust, that’s for sure!

Your character, Richard, undergoes a bit of self-discovery in this show, which you presented in a very organic, believable way. Are there other roles that you’ve played in the past or would want to play in the future who go through notable personal development?

Richard definitely goes through a big personal change, though I think Gaiman makes sure we know the potential is there from the beginning, and that there is still real human weakness even at the end. He still needs his friends, even when he is strongest!

Frank Mancino and Joseph Coracle. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.
Frank Mancino and Joseph Coracle. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

What have you enjoyed most about this experience since beginning rehearsals?

I’ve most enjoyed how perfectly this production captures the eclectic spirit of Gaiman. The variety of characters from the variety of genres and moods and styles of speech even, all working together in this amalgam of fantasy.

What has impressed you most about your fellow cast members and/or crew?

This entire cast and crew has amazed me with their willingness and energy in taking anything on. If I may, I’d like to give special shout to our props designer, Sam, for helping me ground Richard in this world of insanity. The details she put into her craft really helped me a ton.

Why do you think audiences should come see the show?

Audiences should see this show because it’s a wild fantasy world that is realistically conceived and executed. And they will probably not get a chance to see it again, since it takes a lot of guts to get this great beast of London Below out on stage!

What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming roles, jobs, or life events you’d like to mention?

Next for me is a new little person to join our family at the end of the summer! It’s been a while and we can’t wait!

BIO: Joseph Coracle (Richard Mayhew) is delighted to be back with the folks at Cohesion, after last season’s Pillow Book, in which he appeared as the multitudinous Johns. He also delights in the Sandman series, the World Series, and the series of fortunate events that led him to his lovely bride and brood. He would like to challenge all comers to a game of Settlers of Catan. Recent credits include Felix Humble in Humble Boy at Silver Spring Stage, and The Gardener in Chesapeake Shakespeare’s Richard II. He extends sincere thanks to his castmates for their genuine support and care.

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Neverwhere plays through June 19, 2016 at Cohesion Theatre, performing at United Evangelical Church – 3200 Dillon Street, in Baltimore, MD. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

LINK:
Review of Neverwhere on DCMetroTheaterArts by Patricia Mitchell.