Interview by Jann Tarrant

ęStagewurx Ltd 2002

Steven Pacey

Jann Tarrant interviewed Steven Pacey in July of 2002. She very kindly allotted a portion of that interview to this website. Thanks, Jann!

JT: Can you tell me about the falling ladder in "By Jeeves." I understand there was a scary looking stunt involving one. Did you do that?

Steven: Yes, I did. It was frightening when I first went to see the ladder. It was being done by these engineers. I don't know what they normally do, but this was just some kind of sideline that was in some strange, huge building in Peterborough! (Steven sounds almost horrified at this point.) We came all the way down from Scarborough, Alan Ayckbourn and I in his car. Drove all the way down to Peterborough to have a look at this thing. And it had gears. It was terribly sophisticated and it looked terribly simple, just a metal ladder that had gears and interesting things. It seemed to stand on its own, but you had to get the kind of balance of it when you were on it. Then it just crashed down and hit the window, then changed it so you understood you were looking at the same scene only from this way. (Steven demonstrates with his arm.) Looking at the scene from a different visual perspective. So I climb up the ladder horizontally. (Note: After the ladder crashes, it is parallel to the stage, but it is still meant to be considered vertical by the audience. In order to "climb in the window," Steven actually had to slither under the toppled window that was only inches above the stage.) In fact it did look frightening as it came down. People used to scream in Scarborough in the round there. But yeah that frightened the life out of me when I first went up there because I'm a bit frightened of heights, which I neglected to mention.

JT: What do you like most about being a dad?

Steven: God, I don't know, there are so many. It's my favourite job certainly. My girls... they're just wonderful, better than anyone else's daughters, you understand. They're just perfect and they get better and better every year. I just think it can't get any better and it does. It's wonderful. It's also a huge responsibility and all sorts of worries, you know, but I love it.

JT: So what do they think of your acting?

Steven: I'm the greatest actor this country has to offer, obviously! What else would they think? (laughs) I don't really know what they think. I think they enjoy it, seeing me in things. They love coming to the theatre. They tell me I'm great, but who knows what they really think?

JT: What was your favourite childhood toy?

Steven: Well I think it was a bear called Chubby. Yeah, I think he was my favourite. There were lots of other things I liked but he was the most enduring toy.

JT: Do you still have him?

Steven: No I don't. My mother gave him away. I was appalled, but she assumed I had grown out of him, possibly (smiles here). A small regret because I'd like my children to have it.