Bo Poraj Interview - What's In A Name?

We had a chat with Bo Poraj (best known for his role in BBC's Miranda)  in the lead up to his appearance in What's In A Name? as the UK tour  of the show opens with us from Thursday 5 - Saturday 14 September.


What has been your favourite screen role to date?

I’d have to say my favourite screen acting gig was in the one which I’m most known for, Miranda.  You very often get jobs where you didn’t have a very good time making it, but the show itself is very successful. On the other hand, you get the shows where everyone has a wonderful time making it but the show itself tanks!  Miranda was one of those rare experiences where it was a really wonderful, happy job and it did so well in top of that. That’s quite a rare meeting of circumstances! It was definitely one of my happiest professional engagements and also happens to be the one I’m most known for.  It was as much fun to film as it appears on screen!


How does the experience of screen acting compare to on stage?

My character is Peter who is a university lecturer and I suppose other people might call him a pedant, but he would probably say that he’s just got a very strong sense of what’s right and wrong. In the play he gets very stuck on the use of language, in regards to what words are right and wrong and which words should be forbidden.  Are there names you can’t name a child? He gets very het up about this as its sort of his area of expertise as he is a language professor, so he probably comes over as a bit pompous, but arguing in his corner he felt like he had the moral high ground.  He is surrounded by students all the time who don’t question what he says, so I suppose brining that attitude home with him he finds that authority doesn’t carry quite the same wright in a family environment!   What I do like about him is how he’s actually very witty and he’ll be the person to make the wise cracks that perhaps were on the tip of everybody else’s tongue, but he’s the one who will actually have the confidence to voice it.  The fact he says the things that people are thinking but don’t dare to say make him very fun to play! The fact he’s so witty but also earnest is a fun combination to play, too.


What have you enjoyed so far about the process?

We’re only in our second week of rehearsals and at the moment we’re trying to get to the point where we know it inside and out so we can really start playing around with it. It’s comedy so it’s got to be fast and it’s got to be sharp! So that’s what we’re trying to do.  We’re all almost on the lines at the moment and are all going home with a bit of a headache at the end of the day! It’s all good fun but we’ll love it even more when we’re in front of an audience.


What would you say audiences can look forward to about the play?

You could argue that the play is quite satirical, of the now and of its time.  I think what really sells this play is just simply how funny it is. It’s 90 minutes of laughter and escapism - what more can you want from an evening of theatre?  We hope people will come along and laugh and forget all about the news they watched before they turned up, just for a while at least.  The play does pack quite serious punches in places in the questions it raises, in terms of political correctness and the question of the possibility of a word be so loaded that you can’t use it to name your child.  There are some quite serious and deep questions for our time in this. I think people will definitely pick up on that and engage with that, but do so while laughing!  It’s light but not shallow. It definitely compare to plays like the hugely successful Art, I think that’s the best comparison to make if people would like to know wat sort of thing to expect!


Are you looking forward to coming to Guildford?

I’m really looking forward to bringing the show to Guildford as I’ve never been and I’ve always heard so much about the Yvonne Arnaud, what with it being such a well-known theatre in the circuit and amongst actors.  I know lots of actors who have worked there but I’ve never been myself, so I’m looking forward to it very much.


Read our interviews with Joe's fellow cast members Alex Gamond (GSA class of 2000) and Joe Thomas (Inbetweeners).


Tickets for What's In A Name? are on sale now! Click here to find out more about more and book your tickets for this hilariously funny 90 minutes.