5 Questions with Charles Allen and Anna Houston

Anna Houston

Anna Houston

Charles Allen: How do you prepare to play a character that isn’t even given a name in the play, you are only referred to as Curley’s Wife?
Anna Houston: I work like a script detective … what clues are in Steinbeck’s script, his novel? Then I broaden the scope to look at the time period she came from. That helps with filling in the gaps about domestic life, socio economics, education, and so on. The rest is imagination and intuition. So much of what you bring to a role is intuitive, emotional. That’s the fun stuff. I also found a beautiful letter that Steinbeck wrote to Claire Luce, the first actress to play Curley’s Wife on Broadway in 1937. In it, he discusses her background, her motivations and desires. That letter does a lot to restore her dignity and humanity.

Curley’s Wife wants to be a star in the movies… which would you choose, being a star on stage or in the movies?
Can I do both, please? I think I’ll go with being a star on stage, paid movie star money.

5 words you’d use to describe working with a cast of 10 actors.
A noisy explosion of creativity.

Favourite down time activity on your days off from acting?
Sleeping.

Why should people see Of Mice And Men?
Because it’s Steinbeck! It’s gritty, heart breaking and timeless. It’s epic on the most intimate and vulnerable scale. And the artists at the helm of this production are at the top of their game. Excellent direction, design and performances. It deserves a damn big audience!

Charles Allen

Charles Allen

Anna Houston: Of Mice And Men is controversial for its language and the social environment surrounding its only African American character Crooks, how do you feel playing a role like that?
Charles Allen: Well, that comes down to separating the ego of the actor from the behavior of the character. I feel fine especially considering playing such a character requires me to stretch as an actor.

Crooks likes to read a lot of books, which book have you read recently that you really enjoyed?
I’m into Memoirs Of A Dutiful Daughter right now and I am really enjoying that.

Which actors inspire you?
My friend and fellow actor Mark Nassar. He isn’t well known but I’d put him in the ring with any actor past or present.

You are currently based in Brisbane… what is the first touristy thing you’ve done in Sydney?
Take a picture of the Opera House.

Why should people see Of Mice And Men?
Because it’s an atypical love story that is destined for tragedy. It uses simple characters to tell a complex story. It’s beautiful.

Anna Houston and Charles Allen will be appearing in Spot For Jove Theatre’s Of Mice And Men/em> by John Steinbeck.
Dates: 9 – 25 July, 2015
Venue: Seymour Centre