Caroline, or Change Star Sharon D. Clarke on Playing Americans on the London Stage & More

first_img Star Files Sharon D Clarke How do you build each night towards the great 11 o’clock number, “Lot’s Wife,” which you have performed on several occasions as a standalone showstopper? That song is all about the culmination of every feeling Caroline has had from the top of the show: pent-up anger, anxiety, guilt, loss, grief. Then comes the moment where she has to come to terms with everything and release it in song. She rages and rages and rages and then asks for forgiveness.Given the show’s cast of characters includes an array of singing appliances, are you ever disappointed in your home life to have a washing machine that doesn’t sing? [Laughs.] I love that: no one’s ever asked me that before! You know, if Me’sha Bryan [who plays the part onstage] popped out of my washing machine, I think I would shit my pants. I think I would also sit back and let the soap wash over me!How do you feel to be moving on directly from this to Marianne Elliott’s much-anticipated all-black revival at the Young Vic in May of Death of a Salesman, co-starring Wendell Pierce from TV’s The Wire? What is really lovely is to be 40 years into my career and to now be at a stage where I am approached by people, as I was with Marianne who said she’d like to meet me to discuss [Salesman]. We talked about the piece and what I thought of Linda Loman and what might be my way in with her and at the end she asked me if I wanted to do it and I said yes. Don’t get me wrong: there are roles where I’ve still got to audition but to just get a phone call about a role is a great place to be.Do you think it will help playing Linda to have lived with the pain of Caroline? Yes, in that I think everything feeds into everything else you do; you take those experiences with you. But these are different women with different reasons for doing what they do. The one thing I think they have in common is the protectiveness of their love: Linda’s every waking moment is about protecting her man even though she knows what he’s doing to himself. Her man is her focal point, and so that’s her drive.Are people sometimes surprised to hear that you are in fact English, given your American-intensive stage resume? I do get that. I’ve done Q and A’s after the show where I’ve started talking and they go, “Oh my God, you’re not American! Say something in an American accent.” And I think, you’ve just watched the show for two-and-a-half hours. Why do I need to say something now in an American accent? Did you not hear me in the show?From there, you move on yet again to a 30th-anniversary revival at the Kiln Theatre in the summer of Blues in the Night, directed by your wife, Susie McKenna? That’s going to be a much lighter gig than playing someone like Caroline, or Linda. I wouldn’t say it’s a holiday but it should be more vibrant and full of life, and I’ll get the chance to do some dancing which might help keep some of the weight off [laughs].After all this American work in Britain, are you tempted to do some American work in America? The only time that ever came close was on Ghost the Musical, where they said that they might take me [to New York] but in the end were only allowed to take [male lead] Richard Fleeshman, which made a lot more sense since he and Caissie Levy were the central couple. That’s as close as I’ve come, but if someone wants to bring my ass to Broadway, I’m quite happy to go. I’ll go wherever the work is! Sharon D. Clarke in “Caroline, or Change”(Photo: Helen Maybanks) View Comments Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, or Change (Photo: Helen Maybanks) The English performer Sharon D. Clarke has lent her formidable presence to many an American title on the London stage, from her 2014 Olivier Award-winning performance in James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner to Ghost the Musical, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and her current and tumultuous star turn as Caroline Thibodeaux in the Tony Kushner/Jeanine Tesori musical Caroline, or Change. Though keen to safeguard her voice, the ever-buoyant Clarke took time one recent afternoon to talk to about the challenges, and the thrill, of inhabiting this part eight times a week at the Playhouse Theatre.How are you coping with this momentous role?What’s wonderful is that [the Playhouse] is our third theater [following runs in Chichester and the Hampstead] and we’ve had pauses in between where I have had time first of all to forget the part completely and then to take stock and come at it again. It’s a big sing so to be able to then get the time off that you need for the voice to recover means you can come at it still fresh. It’s not like I’m going, “Oh my God, I’m in my 50th week and I’m dying!”What are you building into your routine so as to keep match fit for the part into April? Sleep! Sleep and water: I live with my straw. If I don’t get eight hours sleep, I’m not singing anything and if I can get nine hours sleep then I’m good. It’s not a straight sleep, though, because I drink so much that I’m up through the night going to the loo—the sleep is all broken up.Did you know the show prior to being offered it? Yes, I went along to see it [at the National in 2006, with Tonya Pinkins recreating her Broadway role] because I had friends in the cast: Clive Rowe and Anna Francolini. Like most people coming to see Caroline, or Change, I was, like, “What the hell is this? What do you mean there’s a washing machine in it?” And what I got was something so moving and deeply charged with history. I went from, “What am I seeing?” to “What have I just seen?!”Have you been chasing the part of Caroline ever since?Absolutely not. When I heard that Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was happening at the National, I did say to [NT artistic director] Rufus Norris, “I hear you’re doing Ma Rainey; that’s all I’m saying.” But this one came about when I got a call from [Chichester artistic director] Daniel Evans who asked me if I would do the show and I said, “Yes, of course” and thought to myself, “thank goodness I know the score and know the role.”Do you think Caroline listens to the music of Ma Rainey on the radio that features prominently as a character in your show? Oh yeah, she comes from that era! Ma Rainey would have been right about that time, and Caroline would have definitely listened to her growing up and to someone like Bessie Smith. She would have found knowledge in [those singers’] pain and in their recognition of what life can be like.last_img read more

YLD looks to Zuroweste

first_imgThe young lawyers will work to promote fellowship, education, and mentorship Associate Editor Zack Zuroweste of Clearwater was sworn in as president of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division at the 2017 Florida Bar Annual Convention in Boca Raton. The trial lawyer is a shareholder at PersanteZuroweste, and has served eight years on the YLD Board of Governors. In his practice, he focuses on probate litigation, the contests of wills and trusts, and general business litigation. Goals as president include pushing mentorship efforts for young lawyers, and supporting inclusion and diversity in the legal profession. (Watch Zuroweste’s General Assembly Speech) “I am both humbled and moved by this opportunity,” Zuroweste said in his installation speech. “I, along with my YLD governors, have pledged to support Florida young lawyers every way we can, including fellowship, education, and mentorship.” Zuroweste said this year, under the leadership of YLD board members Santo DiGangi and Andrew Picket, the division will create a Legal Accelerator website designed to reach and mentor Florida young lawyers. The website will feature short mentoring videos, creating “a virtual hallway of mentoring advice.” “I know first-hand how support from a mentor can shape your career,” Zuroweste said. “Every chance we have, every success we achieve, is possible because someone in our lives supported us.” Zuroweste said when he graduated in 2006 with a J.D. from Stetson University, the best advice he received was “to find a mentor, not just a job,” and then met Bob Persante, who welcomed Zuroweste into his law firm and family. The YLD president said his law partner and mentor, Persante, made him “a better lawyer” and “a better person.” Zuroweste was born in Albany, Georgia, but calls Franklin, Tennessee, his home town. As an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee, he was a fraternity president and got involved in campus politics. Zuroweste’s parents worked full-time during his upbringing, and his mother was the first female executive in her company. Zuroweste’s wife, Elizabeth, is a Sixth Circuit assistant state attorney, and they have two young sons. The new YLD leader said the division advocates for inclusion and equality. He announced YLD board members Rob Batsel and Chrystal Thorton will lead the division’s Inclusion and Equality Committee. “We believe that our profession is stronger when we remove implicit barriers, and give everyone an equal shot to prove themselves,” he said. “We know progress must be made, and we’re ready to push for it by educating our colleagues on the tangible and intangible benefits of inclusion. We embrace change, and we celebrate both the successes of our diverse colleagues and judges around our state.” Looking ahead, Zuroweste said exciting initiatives are underway: YLD board members Margaret Good and Travis Santos will expand the YLD’s Basic Skills Courses; Ben Gibson and Natasha Dorsey will promote quality of life, including mental health, initiatives; Cherine Valbrun and Jen Thomas will expand the Practicing with Professionalism program; and Paige Gillman and Iris Elijah will refine the YLD’s Law Student Division. Zuroweste said there are several issues that young lawyers face in current times, including high cost of living, competition for jobs, and family time is “pitted against the billable hour.” He said young lawyers often feel forced to choose career over starting a family, and when they do start having children, many women lose advancement opportunities. Meanwhile, he noted, the ever-growing diverse legal profession has outgrown the rigid norms of decades past. “Progress isn’t made overnight. It’s built over time, and is the result of the work of those who walked before us,” Zuroweste said. “It is an exciting time to be a Florida lawyer.” July 15, 2017 Rawan Bitar Associate Editor Regular News YLD looks to Zurowestecenter_img ZACK ZUROWESTE accepts the gavel from past YLD presidents. From the left are Renee Thompson, Frank Bedell, Sean Desmond, Wayne Helsby, Zuroweste, Jewel White, Katherine Hurst Miller, R.J. Haughey, Jamie Billotte Moses, Michael Fox Orr, and Paige Greenlee.YLD looks to Zurowestelast_img read more

Otto Energy Completes Galoc Drilling (Philippines)

first_imgOtto Energy Limited, as operator of the producing Galoc oilfield joint venture offshore the Philippines, provides the following update on the Galoc-5H and Galoc-6H drilling campaign in SC14C, part of the Galoc Phase II development approved in 2012.During the period from 0600 hours (AWST) on 14 August 2013 to 0600 hours (AWST) on 21 August 2013, drilled the G-6H 8½”  hole section to 3,958 metres through the Galoc reservoir  interval. The well intersected a 260m section of very high quality reservoir which was at the high end of prognosed outcomes.The well subsequently drilled through poorer sections of formation and the decision was made to TD the well early to ensure successful completion across the high quality reservoir. The 5½” completion liner has now been run over the high quality reservoir section.The well is currently being suspended prior to running the upper completion and well clean-up flow.The forward plan is to move the rig to the G-5H well and drill the 8½” hole horizontally for approximately 2,400 metres through the reservoir interval prior to running the completion liner and assembly.Location and Proposed DepthThe Galoc field is located in Service Contract SC14C (Galoc Sub Block) in 290 metres of water approximately 65km North West of Palawan Island and 350km south of Manila in the Republic of the Philippines. The Galoc-5H and Galoc-6H development wells are being drilled within the existing producing field that has delivered over 10 MMbbls of production since the field was commissioned in 2008.After drilling of both Galoc-5H and Galoc-6H is completed, the DOF operated Skandia Hercules construction vessel will be used to install the subsea equipment and complete the hook-up of both wells to the FPSO Rubicon Intrepid.First oil from the Phase II wells is expected in November 2013[mappress]Press Release, August 21, 2013last_img read more

Judges slam legal aid cuts and lawyers who bring ‘unmeritorious’ claims

first_imgJudges have slammed government plans to cut legal aid, but also criticised publicly funded lawyers who bring ‘unmeritorious’ public law claims, and proposed limiting legal aid in judicial review cases. In a response to the government’s consultation on legal aid published last week, the Judges’ Council said public funding should be retained for most public law cases, but there should be ‘significant refinement’ to judicial review claims, particularly in immigration and asylum cases. The lord chief justice Lord Judge, who authored the response on behalf of the judiciary, said the existing legal aid merits test does not effectively filter out unmeritorious claims. Out of some 12,500 judicial review claim forms issued in the Administrative Court in 2010, Judge said around 7,500 concerned asylum and immigration. In the great majority of those cases, there had been an adverse decision by the secretary of state giving rise to an unsuccessful appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal or first-tier tribunal. Judge said money spent on judicial review in these cases, which is the ‘second, or even third or fourth bite of the cherry’, was ‘largely wasted’. He said: ‘Most claims fail. Most of the claims which fail are without merit, and many are wholly abusive of the court’s process.’ The judiciary recommended that in the majority of immigration and asylum cases, legal aid should only be available for an appeal to the first-tier tribunal. Judge said that the intervention of publicly funded lawyers does not prevent unmeritorious claims being brought. ‘Often bad claims are advanced by lawyers, which an individual would not have thought of himself,’ he said. The lord chief justice said several times a year, decisions of the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court on cases which raise questions of principle produce ‘scores or even hundreds’ of ‘hopeless’ claims, supposedly founded on the same principles. He said such claims are ‘generally devised by lawyers’. Judge added: ‘Publicly funded lawyers currently advance many unmeritorious claims which would not be advanced in the absence of such legal representation.’ To ensure legal aid is spent only on meritorious cases, Judge suggested certain categories of claim should be excluded from the scope of legal aid, subject to a means of identifying those that deserve to be publicly funded. He said public funding should ‘plainly not’ be available for cases including: oral renewals of applications for permission for judicial review, when the judge who refused permission on the papers has certified the claim as totally without merit; challenges to state decisions when an alternative remedy is available; and challenges to state decisions which do not affect an individual’s vital interests or involve an abuse of power. Of the cases that occur most frequently, Judge said legal aid should be available for claims including: first time asylum and humanitarian protection appeals to the first-tier tribunal and beyond; control orders; and committal for contempt. The judiciary acknowledged that this more restrictive approach to the availability of legal aid in public law cases would lead to more claims being brought by litigants in person, but predicted that the overall number of claims would fall. Criticising the government’s reforms, Judge warned that the proposals to cut fees and remove much of civil work from scope would lead to a ‘huge increase’ in unrepresented litigants, which would have a knock-on effect on the quality of justice and administration of the justice system. He said the proposals would damage access to justice, undermine the work and viability of community advice agencies, and act as a disincentive for advocates to undertake publicly funded work. Judge added that the proposals to remove clinical negligence from the scope of legal aid were not justified, as the victims are almost always vulnerable; the claims involve sophisticated and complex litigation beyond the ability of anyone to pursue as a litigant in person; and given the heavy financial outlay to get expert evidence to support claims, there was unlikely to be a viable alternative source of funding. Judge expressed concern about the ‘excessive’ proportion of public money spent on a small number of very-high-cost criminal cases, but was critical of a number of the proposed cuts to payments for criminal work, which he said would mean talented advocates would no longer practice criminal law. On the government’s plan to limit the use of leading counsel, Judge said there was already a reluctance among junior advocates practising in criminal law to apply for silk, because they ‘see no future for Queen’s Counsel in publicly funded criminal work’. The judiciary’s full response can be seen on the official website.last_img read more