Emily Sulzberger: Why do you think this play is relevant in today’s society?
Amy Victoria Brooks: Technicolor Life is relevant in our society because it is about a family and every family’s story is unique and important. This play examines the members of a family who are dealing with hardship, and how they cope with – and react to – their lives being upended. The audience will be offered a glimpse into the life of a war veteran who has returned home after active service in Afghanistan and is attempting to fit back in to her previous life, whilst dealing not only the loss of a limb, but the loss of her former self. What excites me most about Technicolor Life are the strong females, everyone is a protagonist. Way too often, substantial female characters can be under-represented, or even invisible, on stage. But by selecting this play for The Depot Theatre’s 2017 program, Julie Baz gives these women voices. Each character is compelling in her own way. She has her strengths and weaknesses and above all, she is determined.
What are the similarities and differences between you and your character?
Dorothy Shaw and I share a lot of attributes! We are strong, outspoken and confident women who are empathetic and fiercely loyal. The words “sassy” and “outspoken” also spring to mind.
Dorothy can be more shallow than I am, and her wardrobe is a million times better than mine. Also, Dorothy Shaw has Lorelei Lee as a best friend! My best friend is a fantastic person, but I wouldn’t describe him as a Marilyn Monroe type (though with the right wig and frock…).
When you’re not acting, what would we find you doing?
When I’m not acting, you will find me attending the theatre, watching (mostly-) excellent quality Netflix, and reading plays and fiction. I also enjoy going on on-line shopping websites and adding items to the shopping cart, only to never purchase. And I don’t know if wine can be considered a hobby, but I am an enthusiast. I work in retail and I love interacting with customers. There are always interesting people around and I am fascinated by what makes people tick.
What would be the funniest thing to fill a piñata with?
Certainly not dad jokes. Maybe the jokes that come in Christmas bon-bons. No, wait! Smaller piñatas! But the best thing? Lipsticks by MAC, please. So… many… shades. I want to collect them all. Although it wouldn’t really be fair on the non-lipstick wearers with whom I am competing.
What do you hope the audience will take away from watching this show?
Of course I hope the audience will leave the theatre having seen a great production. But further to that, I hope we make people FEEL. It is the role of creative people to challenge the views of those who view our work and I want them to have learned something. Or questioned their own opinions. Theatre audiences are often some of the most open-minded people, willing to learn and be inspired. I hope we make people talk.
Amy Victoria Brooks: Why should people see Technicolor Life?
Emily Sulzberger: Technicolor Life reveals a lot about a beautiful family of four women, how they learn to deal with each other, as they have gone through trauma and how that has changed them as people. We get right down to a personal level, from the inside of a War hero’s diary, to the reality of living with fake tatas, an absent father and a missing limb. All of this, served up next to some fun dance numbers, promises to be a good night out. And if that’s not enough, come for the strong female leads, it’s great to have a play with so many female characters!
What has been the hardest thing about playing this character?
I think it’s playing a character that is so iconic. Everyone knows the blond bombshell who sings “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”, and finding the heart of who she was as a character and giving a genuine performance as opposed to just impersonating the old gal.
Who inspires you?
I think being a theatre maker is a huge responsibility, we need to be in tune with what is happening in our world, and be prepared to be vulnerable, to be judged and criticised for our work, but nonetheless provide society with stories we believe they need to hear. There are many theatre makers out there who have dared to do this and made a huge impact on society. One of my favourites being Augusto Boal. Oh and my mum and dad of course.
What has been the weirdest thing that had ever happened to you in the theatre?
Hmm once in a very intimate theatre, we were just about to finish the last scene of the play. As I began to break down in tears over the death of my best friend, someone in the audience collapsed. Which brought the show to a standstill, and as the lady (who, not to worry- turned out to be fine) was taken care of, we just picked back up from where we left off and continued. A few people thought it was all part of the quirky show, and were a little confused to the ending.
If you weren’t an actor, what would be your dream job?
I think the most interesting thing about being an actor, is being able to spend time in other people’s shoes. Not literally the old second hand shoes from the costume department, but being able to play different characters, from all different walks of life, and that gives you a better understanding of why people are the way they are. If I wasn’t an actor, I think I would be a social worker or psychologist. I think they both have a great interest in people and their behaviour.
Amy Victoria Brooks and Emily Sulzberger are appearing in Technicolor Life, by Jami Brandli.
Dates: 26 July – 12 August, 2017
Venue: The Depot Theatre