After Dinner, Andrew Bovell’s light comedy, is currently making audiences laugh at Sydney Theatre Company. We sent some questions to everyman actor Glenn Hazeldine to find out his thoughts on life, theatre, and the play.
How would you describe your job to an alien brand new to the planet?
Acting is where you get to show off by proving to a room full of (mostly older) people that you’ve memorized a whole bunch of stuff.
How do you describe it to new people you meet?
I actually don’t make a point of telling them it’s what I do. That conversation is way too difficult for me.
What was your first job in the industry?
David Williamson’s ‘Dead White Males‘ for the STC in 1995. Since then, I think I’ve worked on over 15 productions of his plays. Amazing!
Who are your performer heroes?
Judy Davis. John Howard.
Who are your life heroes?
Julia Gillard, David Bowie and Warren Buffett.
You’ve had a varied and interesting performing career – so what’s your best and/or worst onstage mishap?
Best: I once got tangled up in the stage curtain whilst making a fast entrance from the wings of the Opera House Playhouse. I wound up in the front row of the audience.
Worst: Late last year I tore my calf muscle on stage a few days before opening in ‘Rupert‘ at the Theatre Royal. I thought I’d been kicked by a fucking horse! Breathtakingly, the rest of the cast rejigged the show on the fly to get me through it.
Is there any role – regardless of gender, age, or other type constraints – that you’d love to play?
Barney in ‘Summer of the Seventeenth Doll‘.
What’s the best thing about Australian theatre?
Rehearsing it. Especially the new Australian stuff.
But I suppose that’s not really an answer to that question.
Um… Anita Hegh.
What’s the worst thing about it?
What have been your best experiences in the theatre as an audience member?
Hard to say! Off the top of my head, Geoffrey Rush in ‘Diary of a Madman‘ back in ’92; Michael Gow’s searing production of ‘Angels in America‘ in Wharf 1; Memories of ‘The Elephant Vanishes‘, directed by Simon McBurney at the National in London still send shivers up my cheeks. ‘August: Osage County‘ – Amy Morton… WOW! Where do I stop…?
What has been your best experience as a performer?
‘Victory‘ for the STC – a cast full of my favourite Actors.
What’s your favourite post-show snack?
What’s your party trick?
Jumping over chairs from a standing start. (*Have yet to attempt this since I fucked my calf muscle.) I also know all the major-category Oscar winners.
When you have a day off, how do you like to unwind?
Snacking on shiraz and playing pub trivia.
What’s your favourite thing about Andrew Bovell and the work he creates?
He’s a master weaver! I FUCKING LOVED ‘When the Rain Stops Falling‘. It was devastatingly good!
What captures your imagination the most about After Dinner?
The brilliant moments of excruciating self-recognition. It reminds me of ‘The Office’… but it was written over ten years before Gervais’ groundbreaking series!
After Dinner is set in the 80s – what’s your go-to 80s reference? A song, a movie, a trend?
INXS; seeing Bowie at the EntCent in 1987; ‘How Soon Is Now’ by the Smiths.
How would you describe this play to someone who has never heard of it?
A side-splitting comedy set in the big-hair ’80’s in which five desperately lonely people walk into a bar…
What’s your favourite moment from the After Dinner rehearsal room?
Trying to keep it together while watching Josh McConville. He’s brilliantly funny.
Where and when can we see After Dinner?
STC’s Wharf 1 from 15 January to 7 March 2015.