TJ Power is a very busy man. Somehow, however, between filming a successful television series and rehearsing for a first preview theatre performance, he manages to schedule time in for an interview with AussieTheatre.com. Since graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2008 Power (pictured, second from left) has been on a whirlwind of success.
Last year alone he was cast in 3 films including the highly successful Eat Pray Love, and this year his credits include television, stage and film. Power is currently starring as a lead in the stage show K.I.J.E and is also filming the newest Underbelly series. When asked about what attracted him to participating in the production, Power cites Director, Sarah Giles, as the major drawcard.
“A few of my friends had worked with her and they had spoken very highly of her, I’d seen her work and it was great so I jumped at the opportunity”, he said.
Playing at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, K.I.J.E (pronounced ‘kee jay’, and to Power’s delight, rhymes with TJ) explores the effects of a little white lie. This situation isn’t too far removed from Power’s own experiences as a child. “When I was younger I told a little white lie, long story short I ended up at the police station describing a fictional character. So yes I have had a bit of experience with this”, he quipped.
In K.I.J.E, Power plays a soldier by the name of Irving. Irving is described as ‘the lover’ of the group. He is the more experienced soldier in the crew of four, whom the others look to for support.
Over the past 5 weeks, rigorous preparation has gone into developing the performance. The cast members have undergone training techniques under the guidance of a professional member of the Australian military. The thorough preparation was all in the name of delivering a completely convincing portrayal of soldiers.
“Even though it is a made up world and not a real place, we still wanted to have an element of reality to relate to and grasp onto, so that the action that happens in the play could be just that more extreme”, Power explains.
Playwright and former AussieTheatre.com writer, Joanne Erskine, makes her full length playwriting debut with K.I.J.E. According to Power, having writer Erskine on set was an invaluable asset: “She has been in and out of rehearsals the whole time which has been great… I prefer having them (the writer) there, I was taught to respect the script and do your best to honour the intention.”
K.I.J.E is a unique production in that the majority of the talent are without much professional experience. Working with such a refreshing cast and crew provided a real sense of ownership and camaraderie on set. This experience, Power says, was quite different from working with a cast and crew of industry veteran’s such as that as the cast of Eat Pray Love, where there were two Academy Award winners on set.
While different, Power believes both levels of cast experience have definite advantages, “The first thing I noticed when I got out of drama school was when working with older professional actors I could learn so much from them and their experience. It’s hard to say but I think I’d always like to have a mixture of both; nothing beats the eager and enthusiasm of a new cast and crew.”
Power is extremely at ease and friendly throughout the entire interview, he is open and quick to give honest answers. One question that Power does hesitate on however, is which medium is his preference, theatre or film. Clearly undecided Power says, “I’d love to be doing both; I suppose filming during the day and performing in a play at night… In a perfect world!”
When pressed on the new Underbelly series and what to expect Power is just as hesitant to answer. He instead shows his absolute professionalism and is tight-lipped. The most that he would say was that he was incredibly eager about it going to air, “I am super excited about it and honestly cannot wait!”
TJ Power seems to be on a direct course to certain national, if not international success. Despite already achieving so much he is extremely grounded and warm. His advice for budding actors is to be certain that performing is your passion, “The highs are extremely high but the lows are rock bottom, so make sure your passion is enough to get you through.”
We cannot wait to see what other projects this talented young Australian embarks on in the future.
K.I.J.E – The Old Fitzroy Theatre (8-30 July 2011) Previews: 8 July – 11 JulyOpening Night: 12 July Times: Tues – Sat 8pm. Sun 5pm matinee