From February 4 to 16, Halifax’s Neptune Theatre and Eastern Front Theatre present Cradle and All, a quick-witted comedy about a former artist who is visited by Leonardo da Vinci. Recently we spoke with actor Rhys Bevan-John about his role in the production, and what audiences can expect.
How long have you been involved in theatre, and in what capacity?
RBJ: I started taking theatre classes when I was ten years old. I've been acting for about 20 years, writing for about fifteen and directing for about five. I have recently discovered that I really enjoy building paper-mâché props and masks for the theatre too.
How did you get involved with this particular production?
RBJ: Un-excitingly, I auditioned. I've worked for Charlie Rhindress and Eastern Front Theatre before, and much enjoyed the experience. I am very excited to work again with EFT!
What are the challenges of the role?
RBJ: I play a slap-stick Leonardo Da Vinci, and I have to speak with an Italian accent. Luckily there are resources that actors can draw on to help with that (I got an “Italian accents for actors” lesson that has helped me tremendously).
What are the rewards?
RBJ: I am a comedic secondary character. It is a joy to be able to come on stage, be silly, and then leave…Lots of satisfaction with little responsibility. I feel very proud to be able to work and play with everyone in this show.
What can audiences expect during the run?
RBJ: Everyone has done an amazing job realizing this script. There will be lots of laughter and recognition of familiar characters and situations. This show is fun with a great heart. We have had a ton of fun in the rehearsal of the show, and I think-hope that that will translate to the performance.
What are your thoughts on the state of theatre in Halifax, and Atlantic Canada?
RBJ: That is a good question, and I wish I had a whole article in which to answer. There is a lot of excitement and passion to create theatre in Nova Scotia, with not a lot of money to support it. If theatre creators want opportunities, they tend to have to make them themselves. As a result, there are lots of independent theatre companies (indeed, as I get older, more than I can keep track of!) doing the best that they can with limited resources. Necessity being the mother of invention – a lot is invented by the little indie companies that is really inspiring to see.
What's next on your own theatrical agenda?
RBJ: Opening at the end of February is a zany version of The Historical Tragedy of Dr. Faustus that I am co-directing with Ailsa Galbreath. It uses masks and puppets to tell the story, and is being produced by Vile Passéist Theatre. Alongside Bill Wood, I am the co-artistic director of Misery Loves Theatre Company. We have developed a non-hierarchical collective creation process called “The Invocation Process” that we are very excited about. We hope to facilitate shows being created using this process – there are many talented, creative actors and creators in Nova Scotia that we hope to work with in the coming years. On the horizon is a show subtitled “A Gonzo Punk Faery Tale” that I'm very excited about – it will be both scripted and improvised and employ mask and mime and playful hilarity.
Cradle and All
February 4-16, 7.30pm
Neptune Studio Theatre, Halifaxhttp://www.easternfronttheatre.com/