5 Questions with Nick Barkla and Justin Stewart Cotta

Nick Barkla

Nick Barkla

Justin Stewart Cotta: Who is your favourite female actor and why?
Nick Barkla: Laura Gordon is my favourite actress. I’ve worked with her several times and she has always inspired me to go deeper and harder with the work. A genuinely bold, powerful actress. Judy Davis is another favourite, an awesome talent!

With the federal government stripping money from the arts and instead allocating gazillions to military drones, do you feel that more artists will need to produce their own work?
Artists should always be creating and producing their own work. You have more control over what you’re doing and can tell the stories you feel are important and truly worth sharing with an audience. In my experience, it’s not a lucrative thing to do, but can be extremely creative and satisfying.

Most annoying thing your co-actor Justin does?
Justin isn’t shy about telling me where he thinks I should stand and how I should say a line, which can be annoying, but what’s more annoying is that he’s often right! He also makes this clicking noise with his tongue at the back of his mouth when he has asthma that is really disgusting.

What is the most challenging aspect of your character, Joey?
Joey is in emotional turmoil throughout the play, but it’s not in his personality to let it out. He’s caught between loyalty to his best mate, and the dawning realisation that he is in love with his best mate’s wife. He’s also been somewhat of a coward and it’s time for him to stand up and be counted. There are so many challenging aspects to this I can’t name one, but it’s been a great ride so far trying to work it all out.

Favourite meal after an exhaustingly intense two-hander play?
Love a good steak and chips after sparring with Justin all night.

Justin Stewart Cotta

Justin Stewart Cotta

Nick Barkla: Denny is a fantastically destructive character, what similarities do you have with him personally?
Justin Stewart Cotta:: Time has proven that I may well possess an addictive personality, though I am ten years sober now. The occasional violent impulse, a genuine love of people and a love of the senses and a lust for all things worldly are probably still inherent in my makeup, though these days I tend to mix it up with some yoga, reading inspiring memes on fb, and burning the odd stick of incense…

We met doing Glengarry Glen Ross, another Chicago-set drama, why were you excited to do A Steady Rain together?
We struck up a fairly immediate bromance on Glengarry Glen Ross, so in essence we just wanted to work together, and instead of doing the typical whining and sobbing over the state main stage theatre companies recycling the same actors and monopolising the best scripts, we just thought “fuck it”, let’s produce our own show. The script you proposed was excellent, so we approached Keith Huff directly for the rights to A Steady Rain and got them. He dug our vibe and our passion.

We both play cops in the play. Do you think you could have been a cop in real life?
No, despite the fact that I would LOVE to play dress ups and cuff folk willy nilly, I would be a terrible police officer. I would be unable to enforce many state and federal laws that are rotten from the core. I truly respect and appreciate how difficult the gig is, but I would more likely be sitting under a tree plucking a Gibson jumbo acoustic and snacking on fresh celery and hummus.

How would you describe the relationship between Denny and Joey, and do you expect any real-life tension to bleed into your work with me?
Denny and Joey love each other and fight each other in that archetypal dysfunctional family way. The bond is doubtless. However the day to day behaviour leaves you wondering how long they can last. I don’t really experience any tension with you. You are a fairly decent chap, but you def get royally annoyed with me when I direct in rehearsals. 🙂 P.S. I’m not the director, the wonderful Adam Cook is. In my defence, I am often right.

How important is it to find the humour and lightness in a play that tackles dark subject matter like A Steady Rain?
Yeah look, the humour and lightness is at a premium. But those colours will never be as important as the love these two best friends have for each other. A vulnerability and a commitment to the gentle truth, and our willingness/ability to bring those qualities to the stage will be the difference between giving you guys an average show or a gripping show.

Nick Barkla and Justin Stewart Cotta will be appearing in A Steady Rain by Keith Huff.
Dates: 22 September – 17 October, 2015
Venue: The Old Fitz Theatre