Clemence Williams: If Firs was ever granted long service leave, where would he go and how long would he last before wanting desperately to return to the family?
Nicholas Papademetriou: He’d definitely go to Paris just to know what it was like after all the stories he’d heard from the master’s trips there. He’d stay in a grand hotel like the Crillon and make sure the service was as good as he would have given. He’d miss the family from day one, but he’d probably not come back as his age would probably see him die peacefully after a delicious breakfast in bed in his hotel suite.
Shoot/Shag/Marry three characters in the play.
Firs would shoot Yasha, shag Gaev (just for payback) and marry Varya. Me – I’d shoot Lyubov, shag Lophakin and if I had to marry (cause I don’t believe in it) probably Pischkin cause he’d be drunk and out most of the time.
What’s your dream role?
I’ve already played one – Perry in Mike Leigh’s Greek Tragedy – and there are a few dream roles left, but George in Virginia Woolf and Shylock.
If you could join any past/present music group, what would it be and why? Where would you tour?
I’d want to be the fourth back singer in The Supremes, cause I know all the words to their songs. I love that big hair and outfits of the 60’s. I’d want to play Vegas, the Copacabana in New York and a live concert in the Colosseum.
If you could change three things about the current political climate, what would they be?
I’d make Tanya Plibersek Prime Minister, I’d cut all politicians wages by half and I’d instigate a public panel (consisting of ordinary citizens) who would hold the deciding vote in any decisions, bills, actions, etc that were being passed on both federal and state levels.
Nicholas Papademetriou: If you could make a film that would commence where the play ends, which characters would you follow and what would the film be about?
Clemence Williams: For me, one of the most challenging characters to create an arch for is Anya. Of all the Orchard Dwellers, I think she holds the most potential for change and yet she is incarcerated by the generation before her. It’s for this reason that I think she’d make a wonderful subject of a film or perhaps a mini series: documenting her education, love affairs (above and beyond Trofimov, no doubt) and escape from a family that has done nothing but hold her back.
Which Shakespeare would you like to direct the most?
Without a doubt, Hamlet. While it straddles cross generational themes, for me it will always be the Quarter Life Crisis play. And so I would like to tackle it early in my career while his dilemmas still seem within reach.
Which three people either fictional or non would you combine to make the person that you might come back as in a future life?
That’s a tough one. Probably somewhere between Eugene Ionesco, Jennifer Lawrence and my grandmother. I would want the absurd outlook on life and art of Ionesco, Lawrence’s humour, flair and excellent hair and my grandmother’s grace, humility and integrity.
Do you think one can get through life without lying in any way, shape or form? This includes anything that comes under the banner of little white lies.
Ultimately, one should try. I think there’s a line between complete frankness and tactfulness that one has to walk, but if everyone decided to drop the bullshit then we might get more done in a day.
If you could adapt any film, composition of music (any genre) or book into a theatre piece, which would you choose?
I have so many answers to this that it’s impossible to pin one down… but I was recently quite struck by the beauty and the sadness of Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal. I think it would be a fascinating slice of a lifetime to stage.
Nicholas Papademetriou and Clemence Williams are working on David Mamet’s adaptation of The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov.
Dates: 26 April – 28 May, 2016
Venue: New Theatre