Reactor follows the journey of two brilliant young nuclear chemists, Crane and Benson who arrive on a remote Scottish island to work on a revolutionary project. Ready to change the world for the good, their scientific horizons are endless and charged by optimism.
But the island is haunted by a hidden past and a terrifying future. Crane and Benson are about to learn how far they will go to belong and that there are consequences for messing with the fabric of the universe.
ArtsEd spoke to director, Hannah Banister, as well as cast members: Zoë McVicker, Cellan Wyn, Omar Osman and Joe Cook about the process…
The Island where the Reactor is based isn’t quite what it seems…How would you describe it?
Hannah: “The Island has its own way of doing things – its’s not bound by the laws of the mainland, its bound only by what the people have created. In that sense, it’s a bit like a cult. Everything is drawn from the atom – they all worship the atom. It’s all quite cut-throat. He who dares wins and winner takes it all. It’s not an easy place to live.”
Actors, explain a little about your characters…
Zoë: “Crane has just completed her PhD at Cambridge and faces a lot of challenges when she arrives on the Island. She is first met with a weird initiation process that includes a lot of alcohol. She is a very serious-minded woman, so this environment doesn’t suit her. Her main drive is to work on the Reactor – she just wants to start work as soon as possible.”
Cellan: “Tooley is a robot – an AI, who is also put on the island to work on the Reactor. Although he shouldn’t experience human emotion, he goes down a very interesting path as he begins to discover what he is and his main purpose. It’s been a challenge playing a robot who is also very human.”
Omar: “Milton is intellectual and level-headed. He’s a biologist who mainly works with plants, and he’s very passionate about it – which shows. I’m definitely someone like that, so I can put my passion into Milton’s character and my work in general.”
What has it been like working with a new piece of writing and being the very first to put it on stage?
Hannah: “When working with new writing, it’s as much about the people playing the parts as it is about the story. New ideas come out of rehearsals that we can take forward into the final piece, so throughout we’ve been able to tweak and make little rewrites. It’s been wonderful working alongside Brad Birch, as it means that both the writing and the practical work can come together in harmony.”
Joe: “It’s been a fantastic experience because you feel so much more involved with new writing, especially with this piece. A lot of what we’ve worked on has been incorporated into the play, such as character and prop work.”
Delve into the curious world of Reactor and book your tickets now! The run starts on Tuesday 22 May and ends on Saturday 26 May.