Welcome Home, Captain Fox!: An interview with Danny Webb
The Donmar Warehouse is about to open its 2016 Spring Season with Welcome Home, Captain Fox!, a comedy about identity, lost and found. We caught up with Danny Webb, who plays Mr De Wit Dupont-Dufort, a week before the curtain goes up.
Welcome Home, Captain Fox! is set in America in 1959 and based on a French play from 1937. What do you think will draw London crowds in the 21st century to see it?
It’s funny. It’s moving. It deals with a situation that actually happened to a survivor of World War One, who lost his memory and actually become quite a celebrity at the time, with lots of families claiming him for their own
Were you at all familiar with the original text or screen versions?
No I was not familiar with either, though it does have some resonance with the film The Return of Martin Guerrer.
What kind of preparation did you do for your role as Mr De Wit Dupont-Dufort?
My character is Jewish, so I looked at a lot of Jewish characters from films and stand-up around that period, as he is full of caustic wit.
Why do you think stories concerning a crisis of identity often make for such compelling narrative?
Perhaps it’s because we all have our own crisis of identity, in that we are not sure who we are really. There is always that voice telling you that you’re wrong or not worthy or ugly or you’re stupid or untalented – there’s one in my head telling me I am talking crap. Seeing crisis of identity on stage thus becomes a physical manifestation of our own fears. There is a sort of admiration for people who walk out the house to buy some fags and then don’t come back ,
What were some of the most challenging aspects of this production?
There is a lot of overlapping dialogue, which is a technical workout and you have to be constantly on your toes and not drift off thinking about where you’re going after the show.
Would you call Welcome Home, Captain Fox! a story of redemption, if Jack, the protagonist, is found effectively running away from his past?
Everyone would have their own view point on this – that’s part of the play’s charm. For me, it’s a play of rebirth: optimistic, clean slate. He makes a positive decision to reflect the old him and a rather dysfunctional family. To me, that’s positive
You are an established actor across several genres: stage, film and television. Do you have a preference?
I have no preference. To me, it’s the character that’s interesting.
Is there an industry professional you’re keen to work with?
I would love to work with film director Paol Sorrentino. I have been a fan for years and he has a unique approach. His work is full of melancholy and love. Shattering.
What was your experience of working with award-winning director Blanche McIntyre?
The rehearsals were full of fun and creativity. She gives the actors lots of room to be inventive and then ties it all together
What do you hope audiences will take away after seeing this production?
It’s never too late to start again… We don’t have to settle for what people assume we are… Also an entertaining night in the theatre! If nothing else, you will have a few laughs!
Photo: Manuel Harlan
Welcome Home, Captain Fox! is on at the Donmar Warehouse from 18th February until 16th April 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Read our review of Welcome Home, Captain Fox! here.