Monday, 8 November 2021

COMING HOME: Elander Moore, recently finished his run in The Normal Heart at the National Theatre

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back!

The Normal Heart (written by Larry Kramer) premiered off-Broadway in 1985, in the midst of the AIDs crisis this play was an important piece of theatre and enjoyed great success in its original run. The play made its UK debut at the Royal Court in 1986 and has been revived many times, including on Broadway in 2011 directed by Joel Grey and in 2014 a television drama film version of the play was released, starring Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, Joe Mantello and many other incredible artists. 

This story is as important as it ever has been, in a world where we have moved on so much in terms of LGBTQ+ rights as well as medication and science to combat HIV and AIDs we still have a very long way to go with education and laws around the world. Channel 4 released the series ‘It’s a Sin’ at the beginning of this year and the programme broke records with over 6.5 million views within a few weeks of release. The need and want for these stories are there, so The Normal Heart at the National was a welcomed revival. 

The National Theatre included a new production of The Normal Heart in their recent season, the play closed on the weekend (the 6th November). Under the direction of Dominic Cooke, Elander Moore played Craig Donner in his National Theatre debut. Elander was due to be in the Watsons at the Harold Pinter theatre last year playing Bertie following its run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, his other credits include Ethan in Barber Shop Chronicles for Fuel Theatre, played Bobby in The Rink at the Southwark Playhouse and covered the role of Billy in The Goat, Or Who is Sylvia? 

We chatted to Elander about this revival of The Normal Heart at the National before he opened and he said “I think it’s going to be such an important play, I’m also bloody excited to work at the national for the first time as well!” Going on to chat about his job at the National, we asked him what he was most looking forward to. He went on to tell us how the initial stages of discovering a play and watching the people around you bring this piece to life are some of the most exhilarating times. “It can be such a collaborative art form and I think that's what makes the best theatre, It’s about shared human experience and we have a lot to share after what we just went through.” 

The advice Elander would give to others going forward, and now especially because theatre is very much back and ready for punters, is to watch as much as you can. Learning from your fellow artists is an important and invaluable thing to be able to do; “I think forming opinions on what you like and don't like is a vital part of understanding yourself as an artist. Go see the weirdest and wildest pieces of theatre, movies, television, art galleries and talk about what you liked and what you hated; I for one am never taking live performance for granted again.” 

Talking further about the industry with Elander, he tells us how over this pandemic we’ve all had to confront the truths and the realities behind the injustices in our industry, from the racism, misogyny, class bias and everything in-between, “it is no longer something that can be swept under the carpet and that's good.” He goes on to tell us that even though it is all our responsibility to make sure we change our industry, it is up to those in positions like creative directors, producers, casting directors and other similar roles to implement and adopt these changes if we’re to move on. “These are the people with the power and it is the job of the whole community to hold them accountable. I do think there has been a shift towards a healthier and more inclusive industry, yes, but we have so much more work to do.” 

We asked Elander what his time throughout the pandemic was like, “I’d love to tell you that I have completely morphed into a new and better human being but unfortunately I’m still the same flawed person I was 12 months ago.” Despite this, he has changed his outlook on his own ability, “I was constantly gripped by anxiety that told me I wasn’t good enough and so shouldn’t try or put myself out there. The pandemic made me realise that our time on this little rock is unbelievably short and if you want something you have to get up and be brave enough to chase it.” 

Theatre is not completely back, but we’re heading in the right direction. With seasons popping up in theatres up and down the country, touring theatre making its come back and now the majority of West End venues open with shows in, this is an exciting time for our community. Elander tells us how he wishes he could have been at the reopening of Come From Away, “I think it’s a really special show and the message of community and togetherness in the face of a crisis is probably even more powerful now.” He also mentions how exciting the reopening of Company will be on Broadway! 

Elander and the rest of the incredible company in The Normal Heart at the National Theatre closed the production on the 6th November, although we hope this isnt the last we've seen of this play. I'm sure it won't be! 

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