Alastair Osment: What do you think Sydney audiences will enjoy most about Sweet Phoebe?
Charlotte Hazzard: It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Sydney audiences will enjoy most about Gow’s play. I think the fact that it is set in Sydney will resonate with audiences. He paints such an unexpected, unpredictable and genuine picture of the private homes of others that Helen and Frazer find themselves and I think that’s thrilling – what sits indoors. That’s hopefully just one of the many.
How would you describe your character Helen in five words.
Open. Willing. Bubbling. Observant. Fire.
What made you decide to be an actor?
I was very shy when I was younger and so my mother forced me to do speech and drama classes and it quickly turned into a real passion. I was also mentored by a wonderful actress through high school and she made me really believe that I could pursue this career path.
What is your favourite role you’ve played in your career to date.
Tough… I’m going to answer this without considering this play…
Last year I worked on Angela Betzien’s War Crimes and played a character called Jade. Was my favourite because of many things cast/crew/sisterhood/everything but also the character is a total badass. She’s 16 years old and has been through hell and back- but despite all that she is the ultimate warrior. Never the victim, relentless, full of strength, life and love. I was really inspired by her.
What has been your greatest challenge with the text so far.
This has been such a wonderfully challenging play. There is a lot of white space on the page and also in the lives of the characters- there a not a lot of answers in the script but instead a lot of clues of what this pair are dealing with. With how they deal with each, their language and how they evolve through the play. Excavating and discovering these characters and their relationship with the very little purposely given has been a welcomed challenge. Michael Gow has also written without punctuation and when I first picked up the text I was like wow! What a freeing gift! but one of the other challenges, because although there is no punctuation it has been quite purposefully composed and discovery is still ongoing.
Charlotte Hazzard: Why did you decide to become an actor?
Alastair Osment: It’s the only thing I wanted to do when I left school… and to be honest it’s the only thing I was ever good at. My parents encouraged me to do a trade after high school . So after I completed my 4-year apprenticeship to become a qualified electrician I went off to WAAPA to study acting.
What has been the greatest challenge so far with this text?
This play was deliberately written without punctuation to allow the actors playing it to find the thoughts and syntax through discovery, rather than it being prescribed. That’s a great freedom… but also a massive challenge because I’ve found I’ve had to explore every ‘wrong’ way, to get to the ‘right’ way of delivery/sense.
Have you ever lost a dog?
A few times actually! Our childhood dog, Heidi, used to escape by slipping through the handrails on the upstairs veranda and jumping from the 1st floor!! Insane. We always found her again… but she kept on making those death-defying leaps.
What type of dog did you having growing up?
We had a Blue Heeler named Jude. And later we had a Fox Terrier named Heidi.
How would you describe your character Frazer in 5 words?
Passionate, Determined, Aspirational, Front-footed, Proactive.
Charlotte Hazzard and Alastair Osment are appearing in Sweet Phoebe by Michael Gow.
Dates: 1 – 12 November, 2016
Venue: Old Fitz Theatre