What most appealed to you about Good Grief?
I’ve worked with Jody for several years and it’s always been a pleasure to read his work. I’ve always been impressed by his writing and felt he was going places, so the chance to bring one of his plays to life was too good to pass up.
I also really like the story. A simple family drama. It’s funny and moving, and I enjoy the fact that the characters explode at each other as they process their grief in different ways, but ultimately find a way to resolve their differences.
The story gives a poignant nod to the pandemic. Like the characters, do you feel changed by what we’ve all lived through?
The pandemic is the first global event my generation has lived through. Like anything of such magnitude, it’s so complex that it’s hard to sum up how you feel.
There was a lot of fear. At the start I was really worried about my parents, especially my mum, who had cancer at the time. Then there was a real sense of division over the rules. Some people would wear masks, others wouldn’t. I don’t like feeling tribal, and I don’t like to feel divided from other people, but I think it’s exacerbated my feelings of tribalism.
Yet in other ways, there was a chance to stop and reflect and learn new things and I found that very positive. I wish that, as a society, we could find a way to come together from it.
You play Zac Walker, who is accused of being the most controversial foster child. How do you view him?
I think Zac is impulsive. He’s maybe a little hot-headed and reckless, and possibly others judge him because of that. But he’s deeply loving and cares about the whole family. He would never do anything to hurt them deliberately.
In this play, the Walker family display a whole spectrum of emotions. Are there any similarities between the Walkers and your own family?
My family are very different from the Walkers, but the element that is most similar is the way that little cliques sometimes form amongst certain members of the family to discuss others.
What three words would you use to sum up Good Grief?
Poignant, dramatic, funny.
What other plays would you compare it to?
Not a play, but it reminds me of This is us on Amazon Prime.
Why should people come to see Good Grief?
To see a family struggling with, and ultimately answering, some of the difficult questions around grief, and blame, and belonging, that the pandemic might have asked.
We’d like to thank Reuben for taking the time to speak to us and can’t wait for Good Grief to begin its 3-day run at The Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple. Performances are between 24-26 June 2022, and you can book your ticket from the link below.
Please note that anyone who comes to see the play can get a copy of Spectrum for £4.99 instead of £9.99. Simply keep hold of your theatre ticket and present it to us upon buying the book after its release on 8 September 2022 (International Literacy Day).