What most appealed to you about Silo?
A big part of the story is the relationship between a son with a love of science and a father with a passion for poetry and their struggle to understand the passions of the other. I love that about the play as that struggle exists within me. Throughout my youth I studied art, I painted, and I wrote poetry, as well as spending many years as an artisan silver smith. Yet in my fifties, I find that I am an actor who has a degree in computer science.
In the story, pandemics have become a regular part of life. The play feels semi-apocalyptic. Do you feel that Silo makes any statements about the state of the world?
Clearly Silo is somewhat prophetic about what may befall us in the future in terms of lockdowns and pandemics. But I sense it also reflects the increasing duality and divisions we see within modern society, brought about by the rise of populist politics around the world.
You play Noah, an ageing poet who has become so disenchanted with the world that he decides to succumb to his illness. How do you see him?
I see him as quite unabashedly egotistical and ideological, traits that are often entertaining to see, but perhaps less desirable to admit we also have them. Despite being an artist, I don’t recognise much of myself in him, which is great as it enhances the challenge of bringing him to life.
The play focuses on a strained relationship between a father and his son. Do you find male-on-male relationships particularly challenging?
I don’t find male on male relationships particularly challenging. But I do love a drama that takes characters with conflicting values and forces them together, giving them no choice but to interact. How that drama plays out can often be driven by the sex of the characters, but I like to see characters that are well developed regardless of gender or identity. We all have a spectrum of emotions within us, and we certainly see that in Silo.
It seems that both men are able to communicate better through Silo, the robot. Do you think this reflects our relationship with technology?
As the digital realm continues to pervade every part of society, I suspect that many of us are already at the point where our digital communications far outweigh our analogue ones, both in quality and quantity. So yes, it certainly does reflect our relationship with technology and where it may be heading. All the more reason for people to come and see the play and enter genuine analogue, enjoying a real-life experience in a world of streaming on demand.
What three words would you use to sum up Silo?
Prescient. Tragic. Hilarious.
What other plays would you compare it to?
Whilst not a play, it reminds me of the novella A Very Private Life by Michael Frayn, a story of a dystopian world where all humanity is divided into two camps, the Insiders and the Outsiders.
Why should people come to see the show?
Silo is a beautifully written play that is going to be performed by a cast of actors utterly dedicated to their craft. It’s a combination I can guarantee will stir the audience, and is likely to make you laugh and cry. And it will make you think, and hopefully speak about, where we are all heading.
We’d like to thank Wayne for taking the time to speak to us and can’t wait for Silo to begin its 5-day run in North Devon. The play will show at The Plough Arts Centre from 15-16 June, 8pm, and then The Queen’s Theatre from 23-25 June 2023.
* Please note that anyone who comes to see the play can get a copy of Spectrum for half price, making it £4.99 instead of £9.99. Simply keep hold of your theatre ticket and present it when buying the book in the foyer.