Ryan Johnson: Is 80 Minutes No Interval exactly what it claims to be?
Sheridan Harbridge: It is exactly that. 80 minutes of punchy fun dark love with no breaks for a wee. Compact theatre for the average functioning bladder.
Your character has a real issue with theatre. Do you empathise?
My character Clare has a real problem with artsy fartsy theatre. She sits in the audience and feels ignored by the plays she sees. I don’t have that problem, I go dreamy for a beautiful classic where the director gets out of the way and honours the playwright’s intention, but I do also like risk and experimentation in my theatre. Unlike Clare, I am empathetic with the nature of risk and that more often than not, it doesn’t work, and you’re left with 35 actors running around on stage for 7 hours in diamante G-strings, holding dildos stuck on the end of some glittered sceptres singing Kylie Minogue hits in Latin. But when the risk pays off, the “Locomotion” in Latin is a real winner.
Do you think theatre needs to be more accessible?
I love the theatre scene in Australia. For the small arts community we have, we have a range of companies ticking the boxes for whatever may be your flavour. The problem is always the struggle for money, and how quickly these companies and artists burn out trying to consistently produce quality accessible and experimental theatre. Then they have to take less risks to stay safe and afloat and we all begin to complain again.
What makes our play different?
It’s a beautiful dark dark comedy with so much heart, and so so much absurdity. And plenty of fake blood, S&M whippings and nudity from an actor so handsome even Nanna will like it.
Most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in the theatre?
I saw a girl spill a tin of pencils on the floor and stand on them for half an hour trying to stay upright while monologuing. She fell so many times, the pencils were splitting in pieces and cutting the hell out of her legs. Exceptional.
Sheridan Harbridge: Is 80 Minutes No Interval exactly what it claims to be?
Ryan Johnson: Yes, depending on how many laughs we get and also how fast we act. It is absolutely endeavouring to be 80 minutes and it definitely has no interval.
Your character Louis is desperate to make a great work of art, to leave a legacy behind. What will people say about the legacy of Ryan Johnson?
I don’t think I’ll be remembered as a great actor or father or husband. It won’t be as ‘that scallywag who always seemed to have time for a chat with everyone.’ No – I’ll be remembered as the guy from the Cadbury Favourites commercial.
What do you think about 8-hour plays with 2 intervals and a dinner break?
I would rather eat hair. No one needs that in their life. Maybe the tech operators on the show who get paid by the hour but for anyone else, I’d say “don’t buy a ticket, you’re just enabling them”. If you want to be confused for 8 hours while watching A-list Australian actors talk funny in silly costumes, just watch one of the Hobbit movies.
What’s your favourite moment in the show?
The bits where you and Robin do anything. I think you are both comically brilliant and I feel very fortunate I get to share a space with you both!
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen in the theatre?
90’s Australian Basketball megastar Andrew Gaze in Jack And The Beanstalk at the Gold Coast Art Centre. The production was brilliant but he just didn’t capture the giant’s vulnerability. I wanted to know what was behind his ‘hunger’ for Jack but I couldn’t help but feel like Andrew was just ‘playing evil’.
Sheridan Harbridge and Ryan Johnson can be seen in 80 Minutes No Interval by Travis Cotton.
Dates: 8 March – 9 April, 2016
Venue: Old Fitz Theatre