Hollywood stars Valorie Curry and Sam Underwood are pouring their off-screen passion into a tale of two wartime lovers in One Day When We Were Young, as Curry explains.

Who better to cast in a play about a 60-year love affair than a real-life golden couple? New York actors Valorie Curry and Sam Underwood met on the set of The Following, the Sky Atlantic serial-killer series, and quickly established an offstage partnership.

While she graduated from teen-noir series Veronica Mars to the Twilight saga and comedy-drama House of Lies, and while he made appearances in Dexter and Homeland, the two of them started working together on short films and launching a production company.

Now, the Surrey-born Underwood has persuaded his partner to make her Fringe debut. They’ll appear together in One Day When We Were Young, a two-hander about a Second World War fling that turns into a heartbreaking romance lasting decades.

“A lot of people who’ve been to the festival have said to us, ‘If you make it through this you’re going to be golden, but we’ll see
how you are at the end of the month,” laughs Curry on the set of her latest movie in Vancouver. “But I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure there will be moments of egos clashing, but that’s to be expected and it will lend the piece a lot of the real intimacy and love between these two people.”

Written by Nick Payne, best known for the award- winning Constellations, the play starts with a one- night stand and continues after a chance encounter many years later. “We sat down and read it, and by the end of it I was in tears,” says the 29-year-old, exhilarated and terrified at the prospect of playing a woman at all ages of her life. “I can handle me at 17, I can handle me in my early 40s, but when I start getting into the late 70s, it’s scary. But one of the exciting things is dispelling the stereotypical way that older characters behave.”

It says much about the couple’s get-up-and-go that they’re prepared to swap the comfort of their screen careers for the hurly-burly of the Fringe. “As actors, we create the opportunities we want for ourselves– and Sam is very much that way,” she says, adding that the show is being produced by Underwood’s Fundamental Theatre Project. “I’ve really been inspired by his mentality of not recognising any limitations on what you can and cannot do. I have creative ambitions beyond just waiting for calls and sifting through scripts. I love stories and I want to bring people together who are going to have the best vision for telling those stories.”

She was also persuaded by Underwood’s front-line reports from the 2011 Fringe when he starred in 3D Hamlet. “He made a really good sell on Edinburgh. Everyone I know who’s been talks about it as the most magical, exhausting experience. We’re not going with the intention of trying to sell the production for further touring, it’s really about the opportunity to do this piece and be part of the festival. And I want to talk to the other crazy people!”

Where & When
One Day When We Were Young, Assembly George Square, 6–31 August (not 17, 24), 1.45pm, from £7, Tel: 0131 623 3030

Words: Mark Fisher

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