Ryan Henry: If you could sum up your character Zoe in three words, what would they be and why?
Cherilyn Price: Steadfast – someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me. Pugnacious – willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause. Passionate – open your heart to me, baby, I hold the lock and you hold the key.
What’s the most challenging and rewarding part about playing a character who has a younger self played by another actor in Through A Beaded Lash?
Most challenging: having a gorgeous young actor like Emily play the younger version, gee she must have really let herself go!!! Most rewarding: working out some shared mannerisms and vocal intonations so, hopefully, it’s not a total stretch for the audience to believe that it’s the same person 30 years later.
What excites you most about this production?
Lots of things about the play excite me, I spent the early 80’s nearly living on Oxford St, dancing the night away on the strip with my friends and so this is a very nostalgic experience for me. But my favourite part is that the play is written by a very dear friend of mine and I know this play is very close to Robert’s heart, so it’s a thrill to see it come to life.
If Zoe had a reality TV show, what would it be called and what would it entail?
Australia’s Next Top Fag Hag. A fly on the wall expose of Zoe’s teaching methodology as she puts fag hag wannabes through their paces!
In regards to acceptance of the LGBT community, what’s the biggest change you’ve noticed over time?
From my perspective, a big physical change is the decentralisation of gay bars. There used to be that large concentration of pubs and clubs along lower Oxford Street, like a beacon, and people would bar hop and run into friends and acquaintances along the way. The strip has now been diminished, not sure how many of the original clubs remain. Then of course over time there’s been increased legal recognition for same-sex couples and families and of course the push for marriage equality (um wake up Australia!) and the increased introduction of LGBT characters on television. These are all massive changes from the Sydney I first encountered when moving here in the 80’s.
Cherilyn Price: Your character Brent performs a drag routine within the play, how was that and how did you prepare for the scene? And how do you walk in those heels?
I’d be lying if I said that that particular process was a walk in the park. It really all came down to confidence and the right mindset. Knowing that when I walked on stage that I had to believe I was the most fabulous person in the room. That when I sang, every word sung was the only truth to be heard. With that in mind, cockiness and a narcissistic attitude are your best friend as a drag queen. As for the heels; countless hours of practice in rehearsals and realising beauty really is pain.
Who’s your favourite – Judy, Barbra or Bette?
Oh thats a tough one. As much as I adore this entire trio of performers, I’m going to have to say my heart lies with Barbra. I can’t deny my love for a broadway musical and it wouldn’t feel right to say someone could top the queen of the stage herself.
The play talks about the gay community of the 80’s, do you have sense of community where you live?
It’s difficult to answer this. I come from the western suburbs out in Penrith where there is a lot of stigma about people from their being very narrowed minded. I wouldn’t say that’s 100% accurate but there isn’t a sense of community for me personally as opposed to when I travel east and hit the city. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends and family who do bring about a sense of community, but I’m always reminded of a lack of community the moment you step beyond friendship and family ties.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
That depends if you included the things I haven’t been caught for! I’m kidding… sort of. I guess I would have to say, lying to work about a family illness to get out of a shift, which is awful I know! I just really didn’t feel like working and that was the first thing that popped into my head.
Who would you throw yourself under a bus for?
The obvious answer would be my family, friends and partner. No question. But if it was a choice between them and say, Meryl Streep, I honestly doing know who would survive that situation. I mean… Meryl is basically god, am I right?
Ryan Henry and Cherilyn Price can be seen in Through A Beaded Lash by Robert Allan.
Dates: 25 Nov – 12 Dec, 2015
Venue: The Depot Theatre