5 Questions with Toni Scanlan and Jamie Oxenbould

Toni Scanlan

Toni Scanlan

What characters do you play in Good Works?
Toni Scanlan: Mrs. Kennedy – who is a working class woman with a strong connection with Catholisism and who has a daughter who challenges and disregards the social and religious expectations of the church.
Mrs Donovan – initially from a poor background and is now a social pillar of society. She is a glamorous, controlling woman who completely understands her role in her adopted community.
Sister John – A nun.

Nick Enright , the writer of Good Works, is a theatre legend. Did you ever meet him or work with him?
I met Nick through a couple of his friends who became mine – which inadvertently led me to being cast in his first production of Daylight Savings at the Q Theatre. I remember saying to him after the first read of the play on that Monday morning, “Don’t worry Nick I’m a better actor than I am a reader”. He just laughed this warm wonderful thing. Nick’s are the best “deathbed anecdotes” I have ever heard. Told to me by two of his closest friends. I’ve been telling them now for some time. They make me feel less worried about dying!

What’s you earliest memory of performing?
Earliest memory of performing was at the drinks party Mum held at home for the Chairman and bosses from the “shipping and export” department at Wesfarmers. This is the 60s. Mum’s high heels, shorts, mid-drift top and castanets. Humming a Spanish tune. This was my idea – my mother was completely unaware of what I was about to do.

Name your 3 most memorable shows, either as audience or performer?
1. Richard III performed by a Georgian Company. I was at Drama School in London. This was at the Round House. The play was, of course, spoken in Russian, I had never read it and it was the clearest Shakespearean play I have ever seen to this day.
2. An Evening With Erik Satie. In the tiniest theatre (max 30 people) on Isle de Cite, Paris – one man, one girl, a piano and 50 minutes. Heaven!
3. All My Sons was a major thing for me. I’ve now performed in a few plays by Arthur Miller and they are all up there with, arguably, some of the best work Ive done but there was something about this production… the cast and the director, Iain Sinclair, it was incredibly special and I will never forget it.

What’s your dream role?
Easy. Bessie Berger from Awake And Sing by Clifford Odets. Any takers?

Jamie Oxenbould

Jamie Oxenbould

You play several characters in the play, can you briefly tell me who they are?
My characters are Alan – a friend of Tim, one of the two central boys, who we meet in a gay bar in 1981. Iain Sinclair (our director) described him as a gay Mr Miyagi (Karate Kid reference for those in the dark). Brother Clement – who is a homophobic, sadistic teacher at the country Catholic boys school where our two central boys meet. Barry Carmody – who owns the local pub. A bit of a boofhead, besotted with Rita the firecracker barmaid and also partial to giving boys a beating. And Mr Donovan – the town’s lawyer and church elder who represents the puritanical, patriarchal side of rural Australia in the 1960’s.

Nick Enright , the writer of Good Works, is a theatre legend. Did you ever meet him or work with him?
I did meet him a few times. And I also worked with him acting in The Three Sisters at the Old Fitz many years ago. A true gentleman, a bit cheeky and a very charming actor. He was an icon of the industry and I would have loved to have been taught by him at some stage.

What’s your earliest memory of performing?
I did a play called Charlie’s Aunt at high school. I must have been about 16. It was a very corny farce and I got my first taste for laughs. I’ve been on the hunt ever since.

Name your 3 most memorable shows, either as audience or performer?
La Fura Dels Baus. A Spanish company that toured here in the 80’s. Just wild anarchy and visceral madness in the Hordern Pavillion. There were chainsaws and blood and weirdness. You had to run out of the way of the performers or risk injury. To a youngster starting out in theatre it was a real eye opener. Nicholas Nickleby – The STC did it in the 90’s (?). It was about an 8 hour production with a massive cast and just a fabulous piece of storytelling. I laughed and cried for the whole Dickensian ride. As a performer I would say Fully Committed at the Ensemble Theatre. It was the first one man show I did and basically after doing that you lose your fear of doing anything.

What’s your dream role?
Either King Lear or Mary Poppins. I’m going to go with Mary Poppins.

Catch Toni Scanlan and Jamie Oxenbould in Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s production of Good Works, by Nick Enright.
Dates: 31 October – 29 November, 2015
Venue: Eternity Playhouse