In Martin McDonagh’s play “Hangmen,” set in the 1960s, a mysterious guy named Mooney appears out of the blue in a London pub. He describes himself as “vaguely menacing”, but he’s also rather coldly charismatic: he’s a “posh young devil”, as Ben Brantley of The New York Times put it in his review of the play’s Off Broadway premiere. in 2018.
It’s a juicy role and you can see why Alfie Allen cast it for his US stage debut – the play is currently premiering at the Golden Theatre. And as dark and twisted as Mooney’s psyche is, the part should feel like a vacation from Allen’s eight seasons as Theon Greyjoy, one of “Game of Thrones'” most tragic characters.
“There’s a freedom to Mooney that can be perceived and interpreted in so many different ways, such is the brilliance of Martin’s writing,” said Allen, who had seen a production at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre, during a recent video chat.
Something that came up often was the music, although Allen laughed when asked if he would ever do a musical. “If anyone thought my musical talents were adequate, then I would definitely consider it,” he said. “I think I can sing and I think I can act, but I’m not sure I can dance.”
From the New York City apartment that is his home base for running the show, Allen went through more than 10 items he deems essential as he focuses on withstanding the physical demands of a program. off-Broadway. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
1. Massage gun I have pretty tight muscles, so I bought one for Christmas in anticipation of being on stage in New York. There are definitely physical aspects to playing this role in “Hangmen” – his posture is kind of upright and slightly rigid, so I need my muscles to be in good working order. Theragun is what a 35 year old man needs.
2. “Nobody knows,” TL Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir I usually create a music playlist for each character I play. I have a portable Marshall speaker – they are really good quality. I listen to “My Ever Changing Moods” from the Style Council, it just sounded right for the character for some reason. And to get out of that, I listened to Pastor TL Barrett, whose records kind of resurfaced over the last 10, 15 years. There’s a song called “Nobody Knows” that I listened to a lot.
3. Pineapple chunks I keep them in the fridge when I do anything on stage. The acidity helps with the throat and vocal chords, sort of clearing them up. Besides, I love pineapple. Pleasant enough.
4. A photo of his daughter I have framed photos that I take with me when I go for a shoot or to be on stage. I have one downstairs, one here. I have plenty of photos. [Moves camera to show them.] I brought mostly family pieces, nothing that I collected – it’s all home.
5.Apple AirPods If I’m on the street or on the subway in London — I haven’t taken the subway yet in New York — it’s a way of isolating myself. I love podcasts, but I’m definitely more of a music guy. I don’t really go out to bars and clubs anymore so I just learn about it from other people. Friends will send me a lot of music, and I’ll just hear it online, on TV. Spotify is still awesome.
6. A painting of his dog My Aunt Maureen made a painting of my dog and gave it to me. She asked me for a photo of him, he’s a French bulldog. She had already done a little sketch for me, and then she did a real oil painting, which is great. Unfortunately I was unable to bring my dog here with me so he is in London being looked after by a family member.
7. One gallon water bottle I try to drink a gallon of water every day. It’s not easy but it makes me feel so much better. I tried to be quite militant about it, especially on stage. I just saw these water bottles online, they tell you what time of day you should drink your water. And when we get into tech, we’ll be in the theater for 12, 13 hours a day. When you’re on stage and you’re waiting a long time, you don’t want to keep asking people to bring you bottles of water.
8. “Just Kids” by Patti Smith “I just started reading it. A friend of mine suggested I read it while I was here. I’m definitely a fan of punk and what it stands for (or did) but I’m no expert on Patti Smith’s music. Soon I hope !
9. Ian Wright Arsenal Shirt I’m a huge Arsenal fan and Ian Wright was a legendary striker we had. He was definitely my hero back then. There has been a bit of a resurgence in interest in classic football tops so I thought I would dive into that market and got one from the 1997-98 season. I hope to be able to pass it on to my daughter, when she is old enough.
10. Steaming I try to take care of my vocal chords and I have this thing called a DoctorVox — one of the other cast members suggested it to me, and it’s brilliant. It looks like a big glass bowl. Then there’s a contraption that you place on part of your face and then inhale and exhale. I haven’t really mastered it yet.