Discovering Ralph (Luke Ward-Wilkinson)

Luke Ward-Wilkinson as Ralph. Photo Helen Maybanks

Luke Ward-Wilkinson as Ralph. Photo Helen Maybanks

Q. What is Ralph like as a character?

A. For me Ralph represents everything Jack does not. He’s the perfect, happy, confident boy that comes from a loving family and a good background. He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s confident and he carries all the traits of his doting father, a high ranking officer in the Navy. Leadership comes naturally to him. He doesn’t try to exert authority; it’s born more organically out of his personality. He exudes a confidence that makes him the logical choice for leader amongst his peers. He’s the type of kid you were always a little jealous of at school, but at the same time couldn’t help but admire.

Q. What is Ralph’s role in the play?

A. Ralph’s role is leader. He endeavours to maintain rules and civility; the main objective during his leadership is to be found and rescued. He is guided by the moral compass that is his friend Piggy, but it is essentially Ralph who must strive to keep order among a community of lost boys, some of whom have no desire to be found or rescued at all. Most of them are followers and will step in line to the next alpha male, regardless of their morally confused and savage-like agendas. Ralph, just a boy himself, naturally struggles within this role and throughout the play his journey is tested; the line between boy and man blurred. He is the complete antithesis of Jack, and without him all hope is lost.

Q. What do you like about playing Ralph, and what are the challenges?

A. Honestly, for the first time in my life I get to enjoy people looking at me. That sounds bizarre and egotistical, but I’ve never played a character with so much responsibility, or a character who is essentially a leader. Nor am I in anyway leader-like in my personal life. I’ve always loved to perform and to act, but off set or off stage, I’ve always lead a very normal, family orientated life. I’m the youngest of four brothers and sisters so I’ve never had that sense of someone looking up to me before. When I’m working with the rest of the cast, and I’m giving one of Ralph’s motivational speeches with everyone on the island looking at me with admiration, it has an impact on me – on Luke as well as Ralph. I’ve never got to feel that way before, and now I get to experience a taste of it through Ralph.

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