Having skewered the British National Party in A Day at the Racists, Anders Lustgarten turns his focus on City suits. Young Kensington-based actor Daniel Kendrick tells Robert Cumber more.
GROWING up in a one-parent family, Daniel Kendrick learned from a young age to be careful with money.
But the Kensington-based actor received an education in how the other half lives, during rehearsals for his latest role.
He plays Ryan in If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep – a working class student whose dreams of university are jeopardised when he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time during a political rally.
Anders Lustgarten’s second play, following his critically acclaimed A Day at the Racists, explores the fallout from the financial crash and promises to offer a less painful alternative to the government’s mantra of austerity.
As well as a crash course in economics and finance, Kendrick’s research for the show included an eye-opening tour of the capital’s wealthy financial districts.
“One rather interesting fact we learned was about Mayfair’s famous nightclub Aura’s £35,000 cocktail, which comes served with edible gold leaf and an 11-carat diamond ring in the bottom,” he says. “I spent most of my time with my jaw on the floor.
“In all honesty I have always been pretty good with money. I’m from a single parent family so things were fairly tight when I was young. I started work at a young age and have always enjoyed earning my own money, though I rarely spend it on myself.
“This play has made me think differently about money but, if anything, has raised my awareness to its influence on everything.”
When not writing for the stage, Lustgarten travels the world as a political activist and the mechanics of power are never far from the surface in his work.
If You Don’t Let Us Dream... promises to expose the systems that allowed such reckless financial gambling and manipulation to go unchecked.
It also questions the way David Cameron and his government are attempting to steady the financial ship, looking at the ‘devastating’ impacts of their decisions on Britain’s working class.
“Ryan is an example of the rather radical ways these (political) decisions negatively affect society’s individuals,” says Kendrick. “He’s a bright young man aspiring to go to university, who is arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time on a political protest. His future is lost and his dreams shattered because financial targets being met are more important.
“He is a character who shows how easy it is in our modern society for people to slip through the net. His experiences highlight the failings in a society that ignores these people and dismisses them, which in the end is not only greatly detrimental to the individual but society too.”
Might Mr Cameron himself, quoted in publicity for the play praising the impact of ‘free enterprise’, benefit from joining the audience?
“The play reflects the important concerns of our times, stimulating thought and debate, so it would be fantastic if he wanted to engage with it,” says Kendrick. “The seats in the theatre are very comfortable so I’m sure he would be quite comfortable (watching).”
If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep, is at the Royal Court from tonight (Friday) until March 9. For tickets, visit www.royalcourttheatre.com or call the box office on 020 7565 5000.