Meet Joseph Black
Which characters do you play in the show? Tell us a bit about your favourite. Are they like you in any way?
I play Baloo and the Monkey King! My favourite character is probably Baloo, a big bear with a big heart, and a character I loved growing up. He’s very laid back but has found himself as teacher of the young wolves and a natural protector of those close to him. Cuddly bear or not, in a confrontation, he is still a bear. I guess there are a few similarities between myself and the character, but it’s definitely most obvious with the younger members of my family; walking the line between older family member and a climbing frame.
Did you know the story before starting rehearsal?
Like many I’m sure, my knowledge of the Jungle Book was solely from the Disney version. A much sweeter and safer vision of jungle life. I have since seen the difference. Cheers Uncle Attenborough…
If you were lost in the jungle, how long would you survive?
It probably depends on how good my phone signal is…
In all seriousness, though I like the outdoors and have made a fire from just wood… as a proper city boy, not long.
How are you preparing for the show? Is it very physical?
Absolutely, this is a very physical show! However, the preparation has mainly been on finding the intricate stages between human and whatever animal we are playing, especially as we never really pass 85% human in the show.
Also pull ups. Lots of pull ups.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you've done before? Have you ever had to play an animal?
I’ve been lucky enough to play very, very different types of shows. I find a really easy way to tap into any character, is to find what animal they are first. As humans we all have a little animal in us that people can see. So the animal seen can be very telling of their personality. Where are they on the food chain? Are they carnivores? How do they move? How do they deal with confrontation?
The closest I could compare animal characters to were the goblins and trolls I played in The Duke Theatre’s ‘The Hobbit’. Their growls and movement were highly animalistic.
What message do you take away from the story of The Jungle Book?
You achieve more with good people around you. Though the actions of the individual may ring throughout the jungle, they usually have the backing of the pack.