11 questions with Natives star Manish Gandhi

Manish Gandhi tells Matthew Amer about the new teenage drama at Southwark Playhouse, Natives.

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Natives, the new play by former i-D magazine Editor Glenn Waldron in which Manish Gandhi stars, is a compact piece. At just 75-minutes long and with a cast of three, it swiftly shines a light on the experience of today’s teenagers growing up in a world that has never been more connected or, one might argue, more isolating.

Set across three countries and one day, it’s a tale of three teens, each with their own problem. Maleficent’s Ella Purnell and Fionn Whitehead, who will lead the cast of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk film, play alongside Gandhi.

Manish Gandhi tells us more about the production:

Ella Purnell and Manish Gandhi in rehearsals for Natives (Image: Helen Murray)
Ella Purnell and Manish Gandhi in rehearsals for Natives (Image: Helen Murray)

How would you describe Natives?

Natives is a new play that celebrates coming of age in a digital world. It explores the reality of what teenagers are going through today.

Why did you want to appear in it?

It’s a great piece of writing backed by a wonderful company.

How would you describe your character?

C is a teenager obsessed with video games. The virtual world helps him make better sense of the world outside.

Is there an audience that would particularly enjoy this show?

Anyone who can’t imagine or has not known life without internet and social media would relate to the subject. The play gives a platform to characters who easily get sidelined in our busy lives.

The show features a small cast of three. How is it working with Ella Purnell and Fionn Whitehead?

We’ve had so much fun making this play; it’s a great atmosphere in rehearsals. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them both.

How would you describe Southwark Playhouse?

Southwark Playhouse is an important London theatre invested in discovering and nurturing fresh talent, staging work that is new, innovative and urgent.

Fionnn Whitehead, Manish Gandhi and Ella Purnell in rehearsals for Natives (Image: Helen Murray)
Fionnn Whitehead, Manish Gandhi and Ella Purnell in rehearsals for Natives (Image: Helen Murray)

What was your first experience of theatre?

Wink murder.

Why is live performance so special?

Each performance is unique; the audience forms an essential part of any live performance.

Apart from Southwark Playhouse, what’s your favourite London theatre?

I really like Park Theatre, have seen some great stuff there.

What one piece of advice would you give aspiring performers?

Be hopeful.

What’s your top tip for a trip to the theatre?

Keep it real.

Manish Gandhi stars with Ella Purnell and Fionn Whitehead in Natives at Southwark Playhouse from 29 March to 22 April.