Happy Valley star James Norton has spoken about rehearsals for A Little Life, which starts performances at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 25 March 2023, and is now booking for a 5 week extension at the Savoy Theatre from 4 July to 5 August 2023.
Norton discussed on Radio 4’s Today programme (Friday 10 March 2023) that the cast are working with an intimacy coordinator on Ivo van Hove’s production of the play, which is adapted from Hanya Yanagihara’s acclaimed novel.
Norton told the BBC that, “I feel very looked after. We have therapists and they’ve really gone through amazing safeguards to make sure we’re all looked after, because there are no punches pulled in this production. We do have to go to places that are quite disturbing, but I do feel very supported and able to do it.”
In terms of working with an intimacy coordinator, James said: “Some people will say ‘oh I don’t need them’. But if that intimacy co-ordinator prevents that one actor from experiencing life-changing trauma then of course it justifies the other 99 people who don’t need it. I needed it on this, definitely.”
He also talked to the Telegraph about how he will go completely naked on stage for the new play, admitting that he was feeling “exposed” preparing for the scene.
“What makes it harder right now is that we’re rehearsing, so you’re in a very light room – it’s like being in your workplace and just getting naked, which is very weird,” he said.
James went on to say: “There’s still a block when it comes to male nudity, about the penis, and what it looks like, and its size and its shape – and all these things of which we as a culture are still very wary. We’re scared of the penis. Men, I think, we’re far more obsessed with it. I mean, women I’ve asked are like, ‘I don’t care, you know, it’s just a penis, whatever’.”
A Little Life stars James Norton alongside Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson, It’s a Sin’s Omari Douglas and The Witcher’s Zach Wyatt.
The play centres on the heartbreaking story of four college friends in New York City, with Norton playing a brilliant and tortured lawyer who relentlessly self-harms after being subjected to years of sexual abuse.