5 Questions with Francesca Savige and Damien Strouthos

Francesca Savige

Francesca Savige

Damien Strouthos: Do you scrunch or fold your toilet paper?
Francesca Savige: I scrunch-fold. It’s a metaphor for my whole life.

What has been your worst moment on stage in a past show?
General dire moments of insecurity aside, I had one incident of corpsing on stage that was was so inappropriate and unprofessional that I’m too embarrassed to go into detail. I regularly laugh in rehearsals (Anthony Gooley is making me giggle a lot in rehearsals at the moment) but I usually pull myself together for performance. This unspeakable occasion was out of control.

Who do you think will win Origin 1 next week?
Whether you mean football, electricity or Darwin, I lose.

What excites you about our production of Inner Voices?
The play, the director, the cast, the design the venue. Pretty much everything. That’s not me pimping for publicity, it’s fact. But if I had to pick one thing, it’s the brain stimulus. I’m loving good theatre that’s prompting discussions lately. I’m still reeling from Sport for Jove’s Taming of the Shrew, and this play is giving me plenty of delicious food for thought.

Where do you find the humanity in our show where there are no plain ‘good’ or ‘bad’ characters?
John Bell was the first director of Inner Voices in 1977, and in his intro to the Currency Press script, he writes that “There is a compassion in the play – not for Ivan himself but for his situation”. I think that’s the humanity in the whole play- we can all relate to the destruction of innocence, to abandonment and isolation… At least those of us who have been lost in shopping centres and put on leash. (Yep. Me too, Damien)

Damien Strouthos

Damien Strouthos

Francesca Savige: Having been on tour quite a lot over the past few years with Henry V and Romeo And Juliet for Bell Shakespeare, do you have a best and worst tour memory?
Damien Strouthos: Best and worst memory are probably one. Henry V 2014, performance in Sale, Victoria. A viral corpsing moment that effectively stopped the show (standard) during the last scene thanks to a Mathew Backer line fluff. 7/10 actors uncontrollably convulsing with laughter isn’t the best way to end a 2.5 hour Shakespeare. Or maybe it is. I had my fist half way down my throat trying to stop whilst we were meant to be signing a 3 part harmony of “I vow to thee my country”. To this day, mention to any of the actors from that company the phrase ‘Sale, Henry V‘ and you’ll get a good yarn.

What are you most enjoying about rehearsals at the Old Fitz at the moment?
$3 beers and working with some people I really admire.

Have you previously encountered Louis Nowra on page, stage or in person? And if so, what was that experience like?
I’ve read a few of his plays, never performed in one. Which is odd as Inner Voices is arguably his most obscure. The experience on working on it so far has been totally challenging in a good way. I haven’t met him but he hangs out at the Fitz a lot so I hopefully will get the opportunity to ask him why he put a bloke in a bear suit in scene 7.

Can you draw on any personal experience for your current role as the Russian infant King who was kept imprisoned for 23 years, with minimal human contact and communication?
My mother lost me a in a shopping centre once when I was too young to describe who I belonged to. I was also one of those kids who wore a child leash (there’s not really a better name for that?) so yeah, I totally understand oppression and isolation.

To be honest, I tend not to use my life in my work too much unless I’m really not hitting something emotionally. Just being informed by the given circumstances and using the words on the page and trying to be truthful. Without knowing it, your life informs your work I think.

If you could speak only one word for 23 years, what would it be?
I’ll just pop that there.

Francesca Savige and Damien Strouthos are appearing in Inner Voices by Louis Nowra.
Dates: 15 June – 9 July, 2016
Venue: Old Fitz Theatre