Wayne Scott Kermond: You have interesting and diverse talents in show business, what do you enjoy most as a performer?
Debora Krizak: I enjoy hearing an audience laugh. I wondered for years what it was that I loved most about being on stage and then I started getting a few comedic roles and there was no doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted to do more of. Life’s too short not to laugh so laugh out loud, peeps. I also love a good spontaneous adlib. We have so many great ad-libbers in Anything Goes. I only wish I got more stage time with Wayne and Todd. That could be dangerous.
How did you get started in this business we call show?
I started out as a young four-year-old at a local suburban dance school in Adelaide. They used to put on amateur concerts and from the age of 11 they put us all around a piano and bashed out “As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver. I think I might have been the only eleven-year-old there that day that could naturally pick up the melody and remain in tune. So the role was mine. It was a great learning experience. My mum would buy me all the soundtracks and videos and I would just try to mimic them all. I’ve always had a knack for mimicking. My first professional music theatre break came when I was cast in Mel Brooks’ The Producers. I was lucky enough to understudy Ulla and learnt a lot from that experience. Prior to music theatre, I toured the country in rock bands. That’s a book in itself. I saw the big banana, the big pineapple, the big ….the big… Yeah that was a decade of my life I’ll never get back sitting in the back seat of a Tarago van.
You are relatively a tall lady, do you like working alongside short men, or does it bother you they are constantly looking at your boobs.
I’m tall but not as tall as people think. I’m five foot ten. Girls are getting taller thankfully and hopefully more roles will become available to tall women in Australia! The comedy of a tall woman/short man has been around for years and I love working alongside Wayne. Yes he has to look at my boobs but I am juggling them in his face. They have their own spotlight and show. The things we do!
You are living 2 lives, during Anything Goes. Deb the performer, and Deb the wife and mother, how do you juggle the two so successfully.
I’m lucky that I have a wonderful husband who can work from his office at home in Sydney when needed which gives me the flexibility to skip a few school pick ups. I have 7 year old boy/girl twins who are in their second year of school. Touring is harder as the kids are in school and I don’t like up rooting them too much. I usually don’t like locking myself into run of play contracts that open in another city. Short contracts in each city can work as I have an arrangement with the kids school that they can travel with me for four weeks of a term and I home school them. It’s tough and exhausting but I’d rather that than spending too long away from them. As it is we’ve had to spend two weeks apart here in Brissy and it breaks my heart to be missing important things like their athletics carnival and gymnastics concert. Those days are hard. I’m lucky though that when the kids are with me, they will often come to work with me and sit in my dressing room and just take it all in. It helps to know where mum is and have an understanding of what I do so its not so inferior to them. I love being a mum and am also grateful for these extraordinary performing opportunities. I think being a parent gives you a whole different perception on life and a whole new layer as an actor. Gee it’s exhausting being the best version of yourself with both hats on though!
What are your plans for the future, after Anything Goes.
I’m very fortunate to have been offered a short contract in another wonderful show that I’m very excited about. It hasn’t been announced yet so I can’t say what it is but it will be fun. I start the very next day Anything Goes finishes at the opera house! What a year. Three shows back to back. How lucky am I?
Wayne Scott Kermond: You’re from a prominent show biz family, what was your first experience in the theatre?
Debora Krizak: I was first carried onstage for a bow with my parents at the tender age of two-and-a-half weeks old. My first musical appearance was playing a Tap Dancing Sailor in the production of Gypsy at Sydney Her Majesty’s Theatre starring Gloria Dawn and then Toni Lamond.
Where did you learn the art of slapstick and who do you get inspiration from?
Being a fourth generation performer it was passed on to me by my family. My grandfather and his 2 brothers (The Kermond Brothers) were physical comics, hoofers, acrobats, eccentric dancers, they and my Mum and Dad taught me the skills. Also growing up watching other acts and performing with my parents, I was always inspired by the funny guy, like Donald O’Connor, Buster Keating, Abbott & Costello, I learned I could make people laugh by falling over or walking into a door. Particularly for the girls when I was at school. Now I do it for a living.
You are a relatively short man. Do you like working alongside tall women or do they scare you?
When you’re my height everybody is taller than me. I love tall women, I’m married to one, she is a dancer. But as she says to me, it’s all the same lying down.
Do you have a favourite musical comedy performer?
No, as comics, I love and am inspired by Robin Williams, Jerry Lewis, Gene Wilder, Peter Sellers, Lee Evans and Jim Carrey, great physical and verbal comics and more importantly their pathos. They make me laugh and cry.
What’s been the best part of the Anything Goes experience for you so far?
I love playing the role of Moonface Martin, it allows me to perform my love for comedy and more importantly bring back the art of physical comedy to the older generation but more importantly introducing a new generation to the old style of physical comedy. Audiences still love a pie in the face.
Debora Krizak and Wayne Scott Kermond will be appearing in Anything Goes with Opera Australia.
Dates: 5 Sep – 11 Oct, 2015
Venue: Sydney Opera House