Clare Ellen O’Connor: When did you first know you that you wanted to be a performer?
Nat Jobe: I think I’ve known ever since I was a kid. Growing up, we used to listen to a vinyl record of Phantom of the Opera on weekends and I was obsessed with it. We also used to watch the ridiculous tv comedy Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em which I was equally as obsessed with. Both were starring Michael Crawford. I just wanted to be him! I still want to be him! Can I be him?
Other than the stage, do you have a favourite/weird place where you like to sing? eg. the car, the bathroom, a rooftop?
I definitely love singing in my car. Loudly. Like, really loudly. Road trips are dangerous, they usually result in me needing to put myself on a few days of vocal rest.
If you could give one piece of advice to your 15 year old self what would it be?
I’d tell myself to always keep that positive, optimistic attitude because that outlook on life has always led me (and still continues to lead me) along the most amazing paths. I’d also tell myself to take of that mustard turtle-neck sweater and burn it, what was I thinking?
What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process for Summer Rain?
I loved working with our director/choreographer, Trent Kidd, on mine and Catty Hamilton’s big number “Watch The Puddles”. Trent has created a beautiful, timeless piece of musical theatre in that number and I am loving every moment of rehearsing it.
What is the biggest similarity and the biggest difference between you and your character in Summer Rain, Clarrie Nugent?
I guess our biggest similarity is that we are both cheeky larrikins; Clarrie is a very fun, optimistic and energetic guy and I really relate to that. Our biggest difference is probably that Clarrie is the town bookie and in charge of all gambling and betting within the town. I am definitely not a gambling man, I’m way too much of a tight-ass! Haha!
Nat Jobe: What’s your dream role in music theatre or on film?
Clare Ellen O’Connor: Oh gosh this is so hard! I love every character I get to play and I feel like there are so many unique things to find with each character. So to pick ONE… Maybe Tracey Turnblad! From the first moment I saw Hairspray I fell in love with that character. I’ve always had a special spot for her.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage in your career?
Easy! I was singing on a cruise ship singing and it was my moment where all of the other girls burst into a dance break and was I supposed to come pelting down the centre of the stage to hit my big note. Except I slipped over during my strut forward and hit the deck. Literally! Tried to pass it off as a sexy slide, but it wasn’t graceful enough! The audience let out a loud “Woooahhhh!” Ah well.
Do you have any interesting pre-show rituals?
Not really, I’m a bit of a keen bean. I come in super early and get my make up done so I have time to stuff it up and start again. I am hopeless at doing my stage make up! Then just warm up my voice and go through the show with my script and my notes so I know what I’m doing!
In Summer Rain, your character, Lorna, gives birth to a little girl. How do you tackle a big life moment like this in a show? And how are you going at connecting with the creepy baby doll you’re using in rehearsals?
I have gotten so attached to that little stand-in Trump baby (it has a mass of blonde hair and kind of pink skin)! Everyone else in the cast thinks it’s the creepiest thing ever but I think she’s just beautiful! I have never thought of myself as particularly maternal so I have been shocked at how comfortable this whole pregnancy/new mother thing has felt to me! Although I guess a plastic Trump Baby is different to the real thing, just a tad.
Also the ladies in the cast who have had children have been so great sharing their pregnancy stories and sharing wisdom! I have nailed the pregnancy walk thanks to those gals!
Summer Rain is a beautiful and poignant show with some amazing moments. What’s your favourite moment in the show?
My favourite moment is probably your “Dark Handsome Chappy” number! You and Catty are hilarious and Trent Kidd’s choreography is just perfect for it! I am lapping it up in rehearsals as much as I can because I’ll be offstage in that part when we’re doing it in the season!
I also really love the character development in this show. I feel they’re quite real and being Australian, they’re ones that we can all relate to. I feel Nick Enright has very much written this as a play with music.
Nat Jobe and Clare Ellen O’Connor are appearing in Summer Rain the musical.
Dates: 15 November – 19 December, 2016
Venue: New Theatre