Q&A with Emilio Doorgasingh from The Kite Runner

Today's #WhenIWas18 interview features The Kite Runner actor Emilio Doorgasingh, who plays Baba.

Tell us a little bit about yourself at 18. Were you studying, working? How did you celebrate your 18th birthday?
1983, the year I turned 18 was the year I left my boys' Catholic boarding school in Warwickshire to study Drama at Goldsmiths in London. My birthday fell during mock exams, so was celebrated semi-clandestinely at the local village pub with a group of mostly underage friends! My main birthday gift was a 'new-fangled' Word-processor, and so would begin, I thought, a glorious literary career!

Tell us something wild or crazy you did as a young adult.
Now, while I have done very much wilder and crazier things in my life, at 18 I thought 'Backpacking' through Europe with a 1930's Suitcase and teddy bear (inspired by the recent Brideshead Revisited tv adaptation), was my way of standing out. I certainly did, and though I often longed for a lightweight nylon rucksack, I stuck it out!

What did you most look forward to/dread about turning 18?
What I most looked forward to was freedom and independence as I headed to London, but I was also full of dread that the thing I was most excited about (SEX), was shrouded by the terror of the AIDS epidemic that was then taking hold.

Is there anything you miss about being 18? Would you go back to age 18 if you could?
The sense that everything was possible, that everything was an adventure, that while I thought I knew everything about everything, I secretly knew that I had so much to learn. Travel and adventure had a sense of wonderment. I was leaving childhood behind.

Would you go back to age 18 if you could?
In retrospect, I wouldn't want to go back. 18 was like a springboard into a fabulous swimming pool - it was the promise of Club Tropicana (July 1983), the place: 

"Where strangers take you by the hand
And welcome you to wonderland"

The thing is, once you've made the jump from the diving board...you can't go back!

If you could deliver a 30 second message to 18 year old you, what would it be?
Don't be afraid. It is scary, but everyone is scared. Embrace the fear, that's what courage is! Listen to people with more experience. Even after all those years at school, you are only just beginning to learn what life is really about, and this is a lesson that goes on your whole life; but with each new lesson you learn, you become a richer person. Not in any material sense, but in a way that really matters. Strive for success, but don't need it. When you are 88 what you will remember is that first kiss, that first beer, that first dance. The time you helped somebody who couldn't help themselves....the first time you dived into that pool!

The Kite Runner is at the Playhouse Theatre for a strictly limited run, now booking until the 28th of August. Get your tickets to see this amazing play whilst you can!

Sarah Gengenbach

Sarah's love of theater was sparked by an enthusiastic drama teacher who wouldn't take no for an answer. These days she's much more comfortable in the audience than on the stage. She's an English teacher and enjoys reading and writing when she's not teaching or at the theater.

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