Robert Sheehan talks about playing Richard III in The Wars Of The Roses and ideal Game of Thrones deaths

Irish actor Robert Sheehan (pictured in the middle above) – best known for his work in the first two seasons of the series Misfits is currently appearing on stage is London as Richard III in Shakespeare’s The Wars of the Roses trilogy. While they were still in dress rehearsals, I caught up with the talented actor to talk about the demanding role.

You’re currently preparing for performances in London as Richard III in The Wars of the Roses – how is everything going in the leadup to that? It’s only one of Shakespeare’s longest plays… must be a walk in the park! *laughs*

*Laughs* Yes! It’s going to reasonably well so far. We kicked it off with a couple of previews of the first play (Henry VI) and then we stopped to do rehearsals for the second play, Edward IV. So we just finished the technical rehearsals for that. And that one is the one with the most wars. So it was a gigantic collaborative effort that was akin to pulling teeth in its logistical challenges. So Monday evening is our dress rehearsal with an audience, so I think our director, our captain, is going to get up on stage before the show and say, “Terribly sorry, but could you bare with us please? This is the first dress rehearsal and we’ve gone completely down to the wire on it!”

So Richard III (the third play of the trilogy) has gone completely out of my brain already. So I’m sure we’ll get to him sometime at the end of next week.

How long have you been preparing for this production?

We started rehearsals about 10 weeks ago, so we’ve had roughly about 3 weeks per play. You’d think that would be enough time to get our shit in order, but the fact of the matter is, logistically the thing is such a monster, that once you get into the theatre itself there are a whole set of different challenges to overcome. All the dramatic stuff and all the feelings you’ve been carrying for nine weeks kind of go out the window *laughs* in exchange for the panic of standing side of stage and “am I going on next?”. But it’s been one of the most incredibly physical jobs of my entire life, it really has.

As you said, there’s a lot of wars.

Loads of wars, loads of battles, loads of trying not to poke someone’s eyes out with a swords, while looking like you are trying to poke their eyes out at the same time. Which can be very tricky.

It could be described as “Shakepeare’s Game of Thrones… well at least that’s how this production is being promoted… so if you were to join the cast of Game of Thrones, how would you want your character to die?

Didn’t they introduce a supernatural dragon element to the show?

The certainly did! Though it took about ten seasons before you actually got to see them.

I think I’d like to be eaten by a dragon. In a glorious St. George versus the dragon kind of way.

Would there be a shot of them ripping your body in two? Get really graphic?

Yeah exactly. A noble fight. Me with a shield and sword. You know if there’s dragon’s knocking around, you don’t want to be killed by a man. *laughs*. You want to be taking out in the middle of the night by some angry Queen. I’m not entirely familiar with Game of Thrones, but we do have dragons in The Wars of the Roses *laughs*. So if anyone is interested in flying over from Australia, then please do come, because there are dragons.

There’s no dragons. I’m lying.

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The Wars of the Roses is currently enjoying performances at the Rose Theatre Kensington in London until October 31st. You can see all three plays in one day – on select days – three plays over three days or just one play. For tickets and more details, head to: http://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/whats-on/the-wars-of-the-roses

Robert also appears in the new film The Road Within, available now on DVD and Video-on-Demand. To read more of our chat about the film, head over to our sister site The Iris.