Christmas is coming early to the Eternity Playhouse with Darlinghurst Theatre Company set to host the world premiere of Silent Night. In the directorial hands of Glynn Nicholas and featuring some of Australia’s best comedic actors, we figured the rehearsal process has been an absolute riot. We asked cast members Amanda Bishop, Aaron Glenane, Michael Denkha and Richard Sydenham to share all…
Firstly, can you tell us a little about your characters?
Amanda: Anne Lickfold is a woman who prizes her values, her family and her eye-shadow above all else. She’d also rather have a different surname, it’s the ‘fold’ bit she’d like to change.
Aaron: Rodney is the only child of Bill and Anne Lickfold. He’s 33 and as Mum would say “is in his Jesus Year.” He knows there’s a secret that is being hidden within the family and while his parents refuse to acknowledge it Rodney does everything he can to pressure them for an answer by acting out in his own satanic way.
Michael: He’s an unwanted visitor. That’s all I can reveal.
I understand Glynn Nicholas has a very particular rehearsal process for this production – what has the experience been like?
Amanda: I’ve always wanted to be laughed AT by a director…everything has come true with Glynn, he thinks we’re ridiculous. But we thought it first.
Aaron: After seeing The Dapto Chaser, the combination of Glynn’s direction and Mary Rachel Brown‘s writing was something I couldn’t resist. I’ve learnt an incredible amount about physicality from Glynn’s busking, mime and comedy background. Mandy is an ocean of hilarious ideas, Richard has the driest sense of humour on the planet and Michael is a bombastic blast of energy.
Michael: See question one. Topsy turvy.
Do you have any anecdotes from the rehearsal process you can share?
Amanda: The rehearsal room is a very private space, so we can’t tell you that Production meetings happen lying down on the floor – but here’s the photographic evidence:
Aaron: This play is madness! We’ve been making out with 3 wise men cardboard cutouts, howling as wolf demons on hover blades and tap dancing while devil worshipping. And that’s all on the page! It’s only week three into rehearsals so who knows what will happen next…
Michael: I have had sex with most of the props.
The play is described as an antidote to Christmas blues – how do you feel about Christmas? Do you have any family traditions that make you cringe?
Amanda: I come from a large family, I love Christmas, and them. Presents help too. Actually it’s all about the presents. We’re non-traditional, but there does seem to be a new tradition building, the right to eat until you’re tight enough to roll home.
Aaron: My favourite tradition at Christmas which has grown over the last few years is that after our family dinner with all the relatives Dad will bring out a CD player, a music stand and a set of warmed up vocal chords and will begin an X factor audition like you’ve never seen before. He sings about 3-4 self-selected classics before requests will go out to the audience aka relatives. This song and dance has taken on a life of its own with everyone getting involved! The cringe moments are the debates afterwards about whose performance was best!
Michael: What’s cringeworthy? Getting together with my family once a year. The best line is “See you next Christmas”. I dislike relatives in general and, by extension, Christmas.
Finally, I’d like to do something I call a ‘Character Assassination’… Firstly, describe your character in three words:
Amanda: Well-presented. Over-worked. Under-appreciated. (ok I cheated, but hyphens are cool right?)
Aaron: “Multi spoked, trisexual, devil worshipping punk” as Bill would say.
Michael: Charismatic. Enigmatic. And fun.
What is your favourite line to deliver as your character?
Amanda: “I am at capacity!”
Aaron: “Leave me alone! I have a hangover and a chaffing injury!”
Michael: “I’m the kind of guy you really want at your party.”
If you could give your character one piece of advice, what would it be?
Amanda: “You were right, there’s no such thing as second place.”
Aaron: Move out of home, it will be the end of you!!!
Michael: Take it easy.
And if you saw your character in real life, would you kiss them, kill them or cross the street?
Amanda: Kiss them, if I could catch up to her.
Aaron: Kiss him! Rodney needs a kiss and a hug…from an actual person as opposed to an inanimate object…the play will explain!
Michael: Cross the street.
Richard, you seem to have been very quiet during this interview – do you have anything you want to add?
Richard produces a hand-written note and leaves the room. The note reads:
PUBLIC STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF MR BILL LICKFOLD
Mr Bill Lickfold politely declines to be involved in this questionnaire. Mr Lickfold believes that such questionnaires are covert intelligence gathering perpetrated by various Government Agencies Mr Lickfold describes his character to be honest.
In reference to Mr Glynn Nicholas (question 2) he has never met the man.
In reference to Question 3 Mr Lickfold does ‘rehearse’ various doomsday scenarios.
In relation to Question 4 Mr Lickfold believes Christmas to be FAMILY TIME. FULL. STOP.
Questions 5 to 8 Mr Lickfold believes them to be an invasion of his privacy.
Mr Lickfold would like everyone to ‘Expect the best and prepare for the worst.’
Richard Sydenham on behalf of MR BILL LICKFOLD
Seems like this play is going to be an absolute hoot! Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Silent Night opens at the Eternity Playhouse on 10th November. For tickets, go here.
Photo credit Phil Erbacher