Q&A from Thomas Simper, Kris in David Lane’s FREE


This autumn, Half Moon will be presenting FREE, a brand new play for teenage audiences by acclaimed playwright David Lane, inspired by his work with young people. FREE will go on national tour in November, following a run at Half Moon’s Limehouse home in October.

FREE tells the story of two teenagers, brought together through the dynamic discipline of free-running who face life-changing choices when a practice designed for self-improvement and freedom starts to cage them in.

As rehearsals kick-off, Thomas Simper (playing the lead role of Kris) answers some of our questions.

Tickets for FREE will go on sale in late summer 2014. To be kept up-to-date, sign up to our weekly e-news by clicking here. 


What attracted you to this play?

I was most attracted to the play primarily as it discusses the art of Parkour; as I’ve never seen or even heard of a play that has before – and it really is a beautiful form of art. I was immensely impressed by the  use of language throughout the piece, how David has manipulated the text as if the words are doing the free running.

Tell us briefly about your character?

Kris is 17 and has grown up in a comfortable life in Stepney. When we first meet Kris, he is blunt, dogmatic, rough, and rude – these all feeble attempts to mask his real feelings about recently abandoning his best friend and fellow Parkour buddy, Sab. Over the course of the play we see Kris mature as he is forced to deal with the uncomfortable reality of his recent decision.

How would you describe the play?

Epic! The stakes are high and the world is fast, complete with perfectly timed moments of stillness. Rhythm is key in this play, providing the audience with as near an experience as possible to the sheer rush of free running. The rhythm and imagery reminds me of modern day Shakespeare.

Having now done the read through, has anything new occurred to you about your character?

Less of directly about Kris, more about how Zara effects Kris. Naturally when preparing for a role, you concentrate on your character – but during the reading I became extremely aware of all the different layers to Zara, she is constantly challenging him whilst simultaneously anchoring him.

What are you most looking forward to in the rehearsal process?

Working with the music – I adore music and it always has a huge effect on my understanding of a piece. Music has that incredible ability to shed light on a confused moment, complete a sensitive moment and be the driving force for other moments. Over all a superb piece, October cannot come quickly enough.