‘Arthur: from a Boy to a King’ – Interview with Sara Al-Kaisi

Arthur%3A+from+a+Boy+to+a+King+-+Interview+with+Sara+Al-Kaisi

Sara Al-Kaisi, a Grade 9 student, is a member youth theatre group at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guilford, one of the country’s ‘leading regional producing theatres’. She performed in the show ‘Arthur – from a Boy to a King’ last November, and shared with me the incredible—and often intense—experiences of putting on a production.

 

What was ‘Arthur’ about and who did you play?

‘Arthur’ is about King Arthur’s journey as a kid: Growing up, dealing with his father who looked down on him because he isn’t strong, and living in his brother’s shadow. I played Merlin, who tries to teach Arthur that it’s more important to be smart and empathetic than to be big and strong.

Did you have any personal experience with King Arthur before starting the show? 

I knew the story from ‘King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table’, but I didn’t really expect it to be about when Arthur was younger. I actually really enjoyed it, though, because it’s interesting to think about what he was like as a child before he became a king.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

Definitely learning the lines. They expected us to learn them super fast, and they tend to get really mad if you’re not able to cover them fast enough. Although everyone’s been really welcoming, it was still a bit hard for me, because I wasn’t at all used to the experience. I was also the only one who wasn’t British when I began, which made me feel a bit weird. Now I find it cool because I’m unique.

What have you learned about being a performer?

[The directors] tell us not to speak too fast and to maintain eye contact with the audience. When you’re on the stage with another actor, you have to keep that eye contact and really listen to what they are saying so you won’t cut them off. They also teach us what to do if something goes wrong, by creating scenarios where something malfunctions or goes wrong onstage. It’s fine if that happens—you just go with it!

What’s the environment of the program? Is it competitive?

The main parts are only given to a specific number of people, so although we’re all friends, there’s definitely some competition. Sometimes without even realising, people throw shade at you by mistake, not realising that they could be saying something hurtful.

On the other hand, although there’s some competition, it’s a really nice environment to be in, and everyone supports you. Yes, there are some elements of competitivity (especially when you’re auditioning), but other than that, everyone’s genuinely really nice and I’m happy to be there.

Have you enjoyed working with your theatre company?

It’s amazing, I really love it. It’s my favourite place to be. When I first started, I was very new to drama school but all the other kids were really nice and welcoming and sweet. They didn’t make me feel at all like I was intruding. Now they’re some of my best friends.