5 Questions with Justin Cotta

justincottaWhat is your favourite swear word?
“Fuck Me In The Face With A Chainsaw Gently”.
It’s not a singular swear word, as per the question, yet run together at a rate of knots… Actually, wait.. no… that just ends up sounding like an in-flight announcement on Aerolineas Argentinas… Say it slow to medium fast depending on the context. And don’t just say it when you’re angry. Try mixing it up a little. Use it in a moment of quietly suspended disbelief. Or, here’s a good one; when you run into someone unexpectedly like an old friend, you can go with..
“Well fuck me in the face with a chainsaw gently!!! If it isn’t Such ‘n Such from Such ‘n Such!?!”
Follow your gut and play with it. And don’t be harsh on yourself if you mess it up the first few times. Like anything, it’s a process. Trust me, you’ll start to dig it.

What are you wearing?
My skin.

What is love?
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Franz Liszt’s Consolation #6. My sweetheart asleep on my chest. Creating the space for someone to be exactly who they are without judgement. The Collingwood Football Club. Curry. My Ducati. My family and My friends.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
The Motherfucker With The Hat at Eternity Playhouse. Rating: 6 out of 5. Absolutely brilliant. Adam Cook is such a magnificent director. The entire cast blew me away. Our Sweeney Todd will be richer for having seen this show.

Is your new show going to be any good?
I said yes to this role because it feels almost insurmountable. I honestly don’t know if I can pull it off Suzy. At times the demands of Sweeney have left me quivering in my boots. Sondheim is mocking me and bullying me as an actor and as a singer and as a musician. I am scared. To the core. I am filled with doubt. I am questioning myself and my choices in the rehearsal room. I want to run away. Particular songs break my heart. The story breaks my heart. No one wants to have their heart broken. That’s terrifying enough in and of itself… And yes of course, as actors we would be lying if we didn’t say that some of the discomfort is about the ego not wanting to be adjudged to be the giver of a poor/average performance. Aah those reductive and selfish thoughts! However, the fact that I am experiencing so much fear is a positive sign that I am invested in and care deeply about this production. I care deeply for the characters. I care for and respect the team that I am working with. Our wonderful director Giles Gartrell-Mills has assembled a stellar cast. And our MD, Liam Kemp, is a supremely talented musician/pianist. And so, to the question! Will it be any good? I can only guarantee you our passion and commitment. But as a cheeky indulgence, let me also answer you this way… If I weren’t pervaded by undercurrents of fear and doubt in week 3 of rehearsals for a production of Sweeney Todd, I would say, “Don’t bother going. The guy playing Sweeney doesn’t get it.”

Justin Cotta is starring in Sweeney Todd, at the New Theatre in Newtown.
Show dates: 18 Nov – 20 Dec, 2014
Show venue: New Theatre