Posted on August 5, 2014 by Basement
The well-written twist is played out to perfection and the stage goes dark to the sound of applause. Lights up and out the actors come once more, beaming. They enjoyed that, they enjoy this…the look on their faces as they take their bows reaches me in the corner of the sixth row and makes me want to run as fast as I can to the first audition I can find.
They are bespectacled now, these two actors who had a full house leaning in throughout the hour and ten minute play; I walked right by Michael Hurst who I never think looks the same from role to role or from stage to life. My urge to find the nearest audition has calmed itself (besides it’s 8:30 at night) and now I am itching to pick the brains of these talented men. I congratulate them, mentioning how the audience sat forward in their seats and Michael notes that it’s because they (he and Ryan) were “leaning into their acting.” I quickly turn on my recorder; I won’t want to miss another quote from these men. They are words that will find their way into this blog and hopefully into my own acting.
Dawn Glover: When you guys finished tonight I thought to myself, “they enjoyed that. There was joy.”
Michael Hurst: There’s nothing else like it. It’s everybody in the same moment. That’s what it is. My thing about it is that there’s a bargain, which we make with the audience “that for these real moments of time your going to pretend it’s real and I am going to pretend as hard as I can to be real for you. I’m going to manipulate the reality and were going to do this, we’re each going to have this contract and at the end of it you’re going to thank me, you’ve paid, and I need to really honour that.” The audience is allowing people like us to play in front of them, and they can’t do that, they don’t do playing. We play; we’re players and its playtime. It’s a playhouse; it’s our house….
DG: Tell me what it’s like being Kiwi actors getting to act in a fantastic play written by a known and respected Kiwi playwright. I ask, because I hear a lot of comments around the theater about the pride of getting to do Kiwi plays.
Ryan Richards: You hear that expression quite a lot aye? “It’s good for a Kiwi film. It’s good for a Kiwi play.” I saw Sophie Henderson’s film, Fantail, and it’s not good for a “Kiwi film”, it’s a good film. But we have this habit of really downplaying that.
DG: When you’re doing a show like this what do you think is the perfect amount of time spent on a rehearsal process?
MH: If you’re asking me I think three hours of quality rehearsal is easily enough.
RR: That’s right. Often when you show up at a rehearsal for other plays there’s the first ten to fifteen minutes where everyone grabs a biscuit and a cup of tea and there’s a little bitching session and some chit chat, whereas in this case I would show up for rehearsal and Michael was there and it was straight into it.
MH: Why are we there if we’re faffing around? Let’s use our time well, and let’s have a great time. The best thing we do is work isn’t it?….It’s a proper job. The thing is that it’s a job isn’t it? A lot of people want to make it a bit more mysterious then it actually is; there’s an investment in that. “Oh it’s a magical thing,” and it is, but you get there practically don’t you?
RR: We had these school forums during the week and a lot of kids asked “how can you get involved in the acting industry?” “How can you be an actor?” And I believe the answer is hard work. Work hard; show up on time having done the preparation that is required of you. Put the work in… Because Michael is a hard worker it was quite good for me. He challenged me and to be honest, he’s bloody off Hercules and I was bloody intimidated….
The interview went on to discuss: my accent, mine and Ryan’s childhood memories of watching Hercules & Xena, rehearsing Shakespeare, and other random theatre talk. It was clear that while Ryan might have been initially intimidated to be working with Michael Hurst, that the two men have a lot of respect for one another and the work that they are bringing to The Basement. As I upload this blog Michael and Ryan have wrapped this show but I hope you had the chance to get caught up in An Unseasonable Fall of Snow. Now, please excuse me while I go ring my dad and tell him that I spoke with Iolaus.