Becoming Phillip Pirrip
Hi! My name is Sam and I’m playing the part of Pip in the Saddleworth Players’ production of Neil Bartlett’s ‘Great Expectations’. It is the second time I am performing at Millgate Arts Centre after I played the part of Benjamin Braddock in ‘The Graduate’ last March. I’m thrilled to be back and to be taking part in such a wonderful play.
Most of you will be familiar with the story of Great Expectations. The role of Pip is central - we follow his development as he transforms from an orphaned boy in the Kentish marshes into a young gentleman in high society in London. However, the setting for this particular stage adaptation is revealed to be Pip’s own mind, as he remembers and re-experiences his life. We occasionally get glimpses into what the adult Pip feels about his memories, and his narration to the audience crucially adds an additional dramatic element which really sets the scene.
The biggest challenge I faced (aside from the sheer volume of lines!) was learning the ability to simultaneously narrate to the audience in Pip’s older, adult voice as the story progresses, while then being able to quickly return as a much younger and more innocent Pip. He is first shown remembering being seven years’ old, far removed from where he eventually ends up. Even as he becomes the gentleman the audience is allowed to hear his thoughts and reactions as the characters and the company interact with Pip. It’s a really fascinating and modern way of bringing a much-loved novel to life on the stage.
This is my first time acting in a production of a Dickens novel, and it’s been great fun being part of this cast. I’m so excited that show week has arrived. Come along and see Pip grow up - you can certainly expect a great night at the theatre!
Sam Reid, Nov 30, 2017