Joshua McElroy: Do you think taking up an acting career will make you happy?
Poppy Lynch: When I was about 15 I gave up ballet dancing. Something that I had done for so long and at such a level. Up until that moment it was what I had in mind as the career for me. When I quit I had no artistic outlet and somehow found acting through school performances and drama class. And the rush I felt was unlike what I’d felt before. Cause I could now be all these characters and escape whatever teen angst I was suffering in the real world. The most important thing for me is that acting gives me happiness even when I fail. It is the one thing I’m passionate about. I don’t think those who is less than passionate should take up an acting career cause it’s such a hard and damaging business at times. So short answer is YES! And as soon as that’s not the answer I won’t bother doing it.
Why do you think the play is relevant for an Australian audience?
Right now the world is suffering a scare tactic war. People in power including our own government and media; are using fear to cement their lead. The terror groups of this time (which are a part of or surround ISIS) have become the tool for this fear tactic war. And people such as Donald Trump and our own Pauline Hanson use images and words of violence to encourage fear which is an emotion that often initiates hate. Those who are influenced fear ALL that come under the bracket of a terror threat. But this means that innocent people are also under fire. Because their beliefs or appearance somehow come under the bracket that the people in power have created. Osama The Hero is about people fearing something and going out to kill that fear with hate and violence. The clincher is that these people don’t have evidence. “You don’t need evidence for terrorists.”
What is your biggest fear?
I hate cockroaches! But that’s not the biggest fear I guess. I think being alone. I don’t mean at one specific moment I quite like doing things alone! I just mean at a later stage in life I fear losing all the people around me. Which is radical and might be far fetched but it’s often something I think about.
What do you and your character have in common?
She has been through a lot of horrible stuff. It’s hard for me to find something in common with the abuse she has copped and the life she has been given. But I think she has a high level of intrigue. She wants to be involved and I think she is observant. Those are some things I notice in me.
What is an artist’s biggest responsibility?
Oh this is a hard one. I think I like the idea that one of an artists biggest responsibilities is to confront. Because confrontation relates to exposing a certain level of truth that resonates with the audience. And I hope that that resonation would result in some sort of change being made. Osama The Hero relates to this I think. We want to confront to get the message across. That whole message about humans and how we hate what we fear and what that hate results in.
Poppy Lynch: When did acting become a career goal? Was there a moment or person that encouraged you to pursue it?
Joshus McElroy: I was always a very theatrical, attention seeking individual from a young age. Funnily enough Suzanne Millar who now runs bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company was the one who showed me I could turn that into performance. The moment I decided to 100% commit to the arts as a career choice was the moment I quit my Degree Of Commerce at Macquarie University.
Being a somewhat new and young artist in the business what are the main challenges (personal or career driven) that you’ve faced?
Cash. Cash is a hard to come by. Everything else is great fun.
What is the leading theme or concept in Osama The Hero? And how does that expect to appeal or interest a modern audience?
The most prevalent theme for me in the play is fear. Everyone is terrified of anyone who challenges the status quo. New ideas are deemed dangerous, the people who present them – bad. We silence, censor and label people rather than discuss ideas. Politics and the media are increasingly vicious and violent. I don’t think the audience will find it hard at all to relate.
You are stuck on a desert island. Who is the one character you’d choose to be there with?
I would probably choose Louise. Mandy is too young to be resourceful. I feel like me and Francis would kill each other before starvation or dehydration got to us. Mark is too old. Louise would have the strongest will to live out of the bunch I think.
What is something that the audience will come out of Osama The Hero with in mind? (Without ruining it too much)
Everyone will have different thoughts as they walk out of the theatre. But every time I finish reading this play two things come up for me. 1. Is there such thing as ‘good and evil or are there just mistakes and not mistakes?’. 2. Is there any situation where silencing someone is beneficial?
Poppy Lynch and Joshua McElroy can be seen in Osama The Hero by Dennis Kelly.
Dates: 21 Jan – 4 Feb, 2017
Venue: Old Fitz Theatre