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Knowing His Role

As one of four actors performing in Neptune Theatre’s minimalist production of Robert Chafe’s Tempting Providence, Robert Wyatt Thorne has learned to do more with less on stage. Recently the Newfoundland-born thespian spoke with AE about his personal and professional life.

What inspired you to start acting?
When I was in Grade 10 I followed an older more attractive girl into the school library, turns out she was going to a drama club meeting. So I decided to stick around and see what it was all about. I was in 4 shows that year and continued on with it next year as well; once I finished high school I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. Then I made my choice to go to theatre school at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, in Corner Brook, NL.

Are they the same reasons that you do it today?
Somewhat of the same reasons. I still can’t picture myself doing anything else at the moment - if I could I would probably be off doing them.

What are the biggest challenges of the profession?
I would have to say constantly finding work and trying to make a living out of it. I have been very lucky so far to have been a part of Tempting Providence, which has done some extensive touring over the last 9 years - it has kept me quite busy.

What are the rewards?
Traveling is a big reward. I have gotten to see places I never thought I would get a chance to see. I spent an entire month in Edinburgh performing in the fringe festival, spent 2 weeks in Belfast, Ireland, a month touring and doing the show around rural England, 2 weeks in Tasmania, a week in L.A., and I have seen almost all of Canada.  I also get to do all of that with 4 of my best friends in the world. That something special to me.

How did you get involved with Tempting Providence?
I was part of the first workshop of the script, about a little more than a year before it was opened officially. We talked a lot about how it would be staged and the order of the different scenes, and then when the play opened in June 2002 I was not a part of the cast. A year later one of the other actors decided not to return and I was given the chance to step into the show, and I have been with it ever since.

What do you enjoy about the role?
I enjoy playing all the different characters, from the 14 year old to the 65 year old man. It’s really nice to be part of this production, it tells the story of an amazing woman, and we are all very proud to be telling her story the way we do.

What can audiences expect during the run?
That kind of a hard one to answer. I still remember when I saw the show for the first time. I was floored by the staging of the show, but what got me most was the honesty in the simple telling of Nurse Bennett’s story.  I walked away from the theatre that night and wanted to make the world around me a little better. This story affects people that way.  It’s nice.

Whets next for you onstage?
I don’t know that far ahead yet. We have been on the road with Tempting since Jan 24th and when we finish here in Halifax we go back to Newfoundland and do a 60 date tour which will take us up to August 5th. After that I have 4 shows I am doing in Cow Head as part of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Sept. Then in October we have more dates for Tempting Providence at 1000 Islands Theatre. After that I may just take a couple of weeks to relax - that is unless someone offers me a show, in which case rest will have to wait.

Tempting Providence at Neptune Theatre in Halifax until May 6 

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