5 Questions with Eli Saad and Sana’a Shaik

Eli Saad

Sana’a Shaik: You play multiple roles in Future Seekers, how did you find tackling each character?
Eli Saad: I love a challenge so I was really excited by the idea of having 5 characters to play in one show. It’s given me an opportunity to showcase something different, and also go really extreme and do something unexpected with some of the characters. I’m excited for audiences to see them.

If you were able to invite anyone in the world to come watch you perform, who would it be?
Max Mutchnick – I love his work. I’d also take the opportunity to convince him to add me into the Will & Grace cast!

What thrills you more, drama or comedy?
I would have to say drama. I do love comedy and I enjoy making people laugh, but making people cry is far better, haha. No really, there is something about being able to really move someone with a performance on a deeper level and taking them on a journey with you.

Future Seekers takes us from Russia to Australia, where is the best place you’ve travelled to?
Definitely Kenya. I first went in 2011 and a 5 week trip turned into a 3 month stay. I then came back to Sydney in March 2012 and returned to Kenya again in December 2012. It’s just a stunning country, I really did feel like I was home being there. The people, the culture, the animals – by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. I also volunteered with an organisation called Tushinde who do amazing work in the Mathare slums, so it also taught me a lot about the world and myself. Working with Tushinde also connected me to my sponsor child, Shadrack, who has now been in school for 5 years, which is just incredible. I can’t wait to go back and visit him again.

Are you more a sweet or savoury kind of guy?
Most definitely sweet. Just ask the cast/crew of Future Seekers. I show up to rehearsals with a different cake I’ve baked each time! Delicious but dangerous.

Sana’a Shaik

Eli Saad: When you’re not acting what are you doing?
Sana’a Shaik: The polar opposite! I work in funds management. The silver lining is that I get an endless supply of paper to print all my scripts!

What excites you about being part of the Future Seekers production?
Being able to explore multiple characters and different storylines all in one play. I’ve never been a part of anything like this script, its exciting. One minute I’m a Russian/English immigrant the next i’m a pregnant pubescent teen in Australia. It’s been challenging working my way through each individual character. Making each role separate from the last has been something the entire cast has worked very hard on. Also being able to work with my Beirut Adrenaline family again has been wonderful. Everyone in the production brings something special to the show.

If you could play any role, who would it be?
Princess Jasmine from Aladdin!

Which of your characters in Future Seekers is your favourite, and why?
Linda is probably my favourite. She’s been dealt some really unlucky cards but she never uses that as an excuse. She’s determined, ballsy and optimistic.

What is your favourite line/moment in the show?
Oh I have two! First is when Mr Brown (Eli Saad) has a semi-breakdown and needs to escape the theatre for some smokes. Second is the banter between Sally (Neveen Hana) and Marta (Me). Sally tries to explain to Marta it’ll be social suicide to not go into the company sweep!

Eli Saad and Sana’a Shaik can be seen in Future Seekers by Carol Dance.
Dates: 20 – 30 Apr, 2017
Venue: Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Hall

5 Questions with Tyler De Nawi and Aanisa Vylet

Tyler De Nawi

Aanisa Vylet: I have been watching you play Uday Hussein. He is quite a cruel man and you as a person have the demeanour of a teddy bear. How do you channel his cruelty?
Tyler De Nawi: When I am behind closed doors in my own space I experiment with how far I can take something. I can have quite a lot of fun with myself… (I know that sounds dirty) but I know how to entertain myself. When I am alone, I can actually push myself to those extremes, to those states of anger, distress. I can drop my mask of Mr Nice Guy and play. It comes from play, playing at home, really taking time to understand what the text is saying. The play is written so well. I just try to let the text breathe on stage.

What is your relationship to Iraq as an Arab Australian?
I grew up with Iraqis and Asyrians in Western Sydney. The word ‘Saddam’ was thrown around loosely at school. Some loved Saddam, some hated Saddam, some didn’t even know how to feel about it… After more research, I have started to see the Husseins as ordinary people. Even though people considered him to be crazy, Uday Hussein was a boy who grew up with a father who would kill his own friends if they betrayed him. His father was unfaithful to his mum and Uday loved his mum. He was product of his own environment. Uday used to own tigers. To me, if he was an animal, he would be a tiger – a predator in captivity.

What is your favourite thing about your Uday Hussein costume?
He is like an “Arab Hugh Hefner”. He wears a three-piece suit with gold buttons on it and a gold tie. It is something else. We are so lucky to have found it. I am still trying to get my hands on a ring, a gold pinky ring. I think that will be my favourite part.

Have you ever been to Iraq?
Never. I have been to Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey… Wow, all the countries around Iraq but I never been there, no.

Do you feel targeted as an Arab?

I am proud to be Muslim. I am proud to be from an Arab background. We are complex just like every one else. We are messy. We are passionate. We are beautiful, just like everyone else. It is time to stop assuming you can label anyone. Just because I am Arab-Muslim does not mean you know me.

I believe art is the best way to help a society overcome these assumptions.

When I was a kid growing up, driving down the highway I saw big banners from world vision that showed an African child suffering. 20 years later, there are now Syrian kids on banners in the rubble that was once their city. How did we get to this? We haven’t even resolved what is happening in Africa. People from my own heritage have become a charity case. What is next?

Aanisa Vylet

Tyler De Nawi: In this play you are playing two characters – an Iraqi civilian whose home is being raided and a leper. I watch you embody these characters very well. To what extent do you go to embody a character?
Aanisa Vylet: I can inhabit distressed states of being very easily. I don’t know where it comes from. Perhaps it is in my blood, an ancestral pain. When I access those states I think about everyone who is currently suffering in Arab countries and the world right now. I channel anyone I know who is an outsider due to their health as the leper.

I also work in colours and through the physicality of that character. For the Iraqi woman, my feet are bare and I am trying to put on my scarf. As a person from an Islamic background, I understand the vulnerability and nakedness that she would feel when those parts of her body are bare in the presence of foreign military.

With the leper, my body is diagonal and made of sand. The leper is the color grey – the black moves inward, the white tries to reach out. The Iraqi woman is red – passionate and explosive.

If you were stranded in the middle of the desert as an outsider, decaying, what is the food that you would be wishing for?
My mother’s homemade vine leaves. Even though my mum hates cooking, her food is always made with love and makes me feel like I am at home. And Lebanese vine leaves with yoghurt and mint? That is the dish that describes my life. It takes forever to make but tastes so delicious you fight for the last mouthful.

What is your mission as an artist and why were you interested in telling this story?
My mission is to tell stories that are difficult to tell, stories that express the voices of people who are silenced who cannot tell their stories themselves. I aim to tell provocative and engaging stories that don’t exist yet.

And as for Bengal, when I first read the script I thought – “Fuck yes!” and then… “Thank God!” The writing hits the primal part of ourselves that we often forget in our daily life. We need writing like this. We need to be moved in our seats before our brain kicks in.

On top of that I was keen to share a narrative that dealt with “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and to work with the wonderful Mad March Hare Theatre Co.

If you had three wishes from a lamp what would they be?
I would wish that we had proper world leaders again, like Nelson Mandela, leaders who perform not for themselves but for the people they represent. My second wish would be that we respect and improve our treatment of animals and the environment… and I would want my mum to get the operations she needs and my brother, who has Down Syndrome to receive the best and most inclusive life possible.

Why should someone pay $40 to come and see this play?
Because it is incredibly moving, everyone involved is generously bringing themselves and their hearts to the work. Because this play is so relevant to our lives today. Because the play is funny – it is a wonderful and entertaining night at the theatre. This isn’t a close and open your eyes “why the hell did I watch this?” show. At this show you will see artists at play, trying new things. This is ground-breaking, brave theatre. Do yourself a favour – go.

Tyler De Nawi and Aanisa Vylet can be seen in Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph.
Dates: 12 Apr – 6 May, 2017
Venue: Old Fitz Theatre

5 Questions with Alison Bennett and Dymphna Carew

Alison Bennett

Dymphna Carew: What’s the best thing about devising your own work? What’s the worst thing?
Alison Bennett: Best thing would be letting your imagination run off to different places. Worst, is getting stuck and having no idea what to do.

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
A journalist or a bird.

What has been the highlight of creating and performing Trade so far?
Honestly, the highlight of Trade so far is seeing people turn up even when it’s really hard. Also, once we get into performance it is really fun.

Are you a romantic or a realist and why?
I am definitely a romantic but sometimes I think I’m a realist. It’s because I love to escape into my own world. When I was little I had an imaginary place called Ali Land. Not much room for realism in Ali Land.

During the creation of Trade, the biggest question we have had to ask ourselves is “how responsible are you?” What are some of the things you have discovered about yourself? Are you responsible? Have you changed after confronting yourself with this question?
This can get really dark because you start to think that the world can never change. Then I realised that I am responsible. I’m really responsible and I realised what a weird relief that was because that is something that can change. I had trouble seeing the light of the subject matter of change and I think that that’s it. If we can just put our hands up and recognise our own responsibility, then we can change. If it’s always bigger and scarier than us than it can’t.

Dymphna Carew

Alison Bennett: What would be your perfect Monday?
Dymphna Carew: My perfect Monday would be enjoying another day off after the weekend! Escaping for a long weekend and doing something active and adventurous.

What was the last dream you remember?
I had a really vivid dream a few nights ago and dreamt there was someone at my window trying to climb in. I remember desperately trying to move and call out to my partner, but I was paralysed. Then apparently I started to make some strange sounds and screamed, waking myself and my partner up. It was all a bit scary and weird. We probably watched too much Homeland before going to bed. Ooops.

What gets you really excited in the theatre?
I love live theatre and experiencing something so intimate with other people. When the space is used in an innovative and surprising way, that really gets me going. I appreciate experimentation and love original, imaginative and daring pieces of theatre. Any show that uses different art forms to make a story come to life and take the audience on a journey makes my heart sing.

How do you feel about being nude on stage?
Hmm. I don’t personally have a huge issue with being nude on stage, however I wouldn’t be getting my kit off for any old reason.

Skinny dipping? Love or hate?
I don’t mind a little skinny dip now and then.

Alison Bennett and Dymphna Carew can be seen in Trade .
Dates: 4 – 15 Apr, 2017
Venue: Old 505 Theatre

5 Questions with Lucy Goleby and Moreblessing Maturure

Lucy Goleby

Moreblessing Maturure: Fallen is a new Australian work. Why do we need new work and why did you choose this new work?
Lucy Goleby: I think it’s really important that theatre reflects, questions and challenges its social, geographical and political context. New work speaks to audiences with an immediacy, an urgency and a familiarity that makes an audience’s experience inside the theatre change the way they interact with the world outside it. This play, Fallen, allows audiences to do some of that metaphorical work themselves, asking them to draw conclusions and discover points of similarity and difference between London in 1848, we create for them onstage, and the world of Sydney in 2017, as they create for themselves offstage. Fallen seeks to explore the role of women in a patriarchy, how their relationships within a patriarchy are constructed and destroyed, and what, ultimately, empowerment looks like.

Is working in the female-led space that She Said Theatre encourages different to your previous acting experiences? If so, how?
Working with She Said and the incredible company of women has been challenging and empowering. I talk of Facebook and social media as an echo chamber, with my own opinions and passions reverberated back at me by like-minded individuals. In this room, I am surrounded by opinions and passions as fervent as my own. In simultaneously supporting and challenging each other, we have been strengthening ourselves as women to support and challenge the society we live in. Knowing that these remarkable women are conducting themselves with poise, passion, determination, intelligence and love makes me feel stronger and safer in my pursuit to do the same.

How can today’s 21st century society hope to relate to this text and its characters?
I think today’s audiences are smart story-recipients. They’re clever and quick with metaphor and symbolism, and easily capable of drawing comparisons between their own lives and experiences and those presented to them. Beyond that, the enormous revolution in television in the last five-odd years has created an audience that understands how to invest in multiple characters and multiple plotlines. Stories matter to us when we can see ourselves in them. This play and its women are both deeply familiar and uncomfortably confronting to the experience of 21st century Australian women. And men who’ve ever met a woman.

What would your character, Matron, think of 21st Century Australia?
I think Matron would be entirely overwhelmed and relieved. She is in the unenviable position of upholding and maintaining the very system that disenfranchises and devalues her. We’ve been talking a fair bit in rehearsal about the perpetuation of bad advice, and the insidious inheritance of unconscious bias. I believe in that idea that you can only dream what’s seen, and Matron’s capacity to make any kind of difference for the girls in her care is fundamentally flawed because she can’t dream a life for them that’s any different from her own.

Who should I invite to come and see this show?
Anyone who cares about what it means to be human. And those who like a stunning multimedia, fragile soundscape, emotionally rich direction, clever, detailed language, an intricate flexible set or a fully boned corset complete with hand-sewn period dresses. And your mum.

Moreblessing Maturure

Lucy Goleby: Describe the world of the play Fallen in five words.
Moreblessing Maturure: Precarious. Tense. Measured. Full. Live

What is one of the questions you hope this play asks or answers?
This is probably the thing I look forward to the most about this play- the foyer conversations before the play, during the intermission and in pubs, cars and trains after the curtain call. I asked a lot of questions after my first reading and I’d be more than content if the audience was also curious after watching the play, curious enough to read up about the history of Urania Cottage, the history of Australia, the herstory of women and particularly, these women. One burning question I’d hope this play asks is “where are we know?” Compared to 1846- where are we as a society when it comes to our relationship with our history, with femininity and liberation.

What has been the most unexpected moment or discovery of the process so far?
Aside from the phone call from Penny (the director) telling me I was going to play Julia, realising how noticeably different working in an unapologetically female-led and centred space was. Not only for myself as an individual but also as an artist, realising that “the norms” of a theatre space, which I’d learnt to be the ‘rules’ of theatre making-didn’t have to be so- that there was a different way to approach, to analyse to process to imagine stories- and that way was equally as valid . #suchdeep #muchwow

How is your character, Julia, similar to and different from you and what have you learned from her?
Julia, unlike myself, has a steadfast faith in the system she finds herself, in meritocracy- the notion that hard work leads to success (however that manifests) and thus any failure is due to individual inadequacy. That was the first big obstacle i had to work through in understanding Julia, as to WHY someone who has been wronged by her society in so many ways, continues to obey by the rules that actively maintain her lowly position. Julia also manages to be very similar to me in the way she navigates her world, in her ability to master the act of appeasing and knows how to keep-up-appearances when all she wants to do is yell to the heavens..yeah, we’re pretty Kool Kats

How will this play have changed you, as an actor and a person?
As a testament to Penny’s incredible ability, It’s introduced me to a new way to approach, discover and understand a character. This play has also set a precedent for myself as an artists as to the amount of complexity and nuance I am will accept in a role. Female roles aren’t accessories to adorn a male centric narrative- they deserve to be written with truth and dimension and dare I say: virility.

Lucy Goleby and Moreblessing Maturure can be seen in Fallen by Seanna van Helten.
Dates: 6 – 22 Apr, 2017
Venue: Seymour Centre

5 Questions with Curly Fries and Tim Kemp

Curly Fries

Tim Kemp: Did you ever imagine you’d start your own company?
Curly Fries: Oh god that’s an interesting question. When I was younger I always fantasized about having a Shakespeare company that was contemporary. But then, the more I got into acting, and acting school, it was seen that Shakespeare or classic verse was ‘daggy’ or ‘not that exciting’. So, I steered away from it even though I really liked it. Looking back now there was a real push at acting school (or maybe actually something that the students put on themselves) that we would be working in the popular culture and Shakespeare wasn’t part of that. It was only last year when I got really pissed off with the situation that I
decided to use Shakespeare as a way of making some sort of connection and use political theatre. ‘The leftovers’ was born. I can’t imagine my life without it and our team behind it.

If you had an infinite budget what would change about the way you make work?
Definitely I’d want to pay my actors triple the award rate because what they give me and the collective, apart from their time and their work, what they give me is their artistry which has no price. I’ve always been totally blown away by the sheer magnitude and interpretation of the work. I would hope to one day be able to give the artists that. I would probably also have a fancier set. Haha! I don’t know maybe not…actually, maybe not. Actually, definitely not. AND – it will always be free to the public.

How many business calls have you taken dressed as a clown doctor?
… erm …Probably each round I’m a clown doctor, and they can range from 1-3 a week. So maybe about 1 call per shift, 5 texts and a couple of emails. The funny thing is having that clown nose on me during those calls gives me a different way of treating the business. It gives me a different slant on it. It reminds me of the bigger picture. The hospital is really great for that. Every time I come out of the hospital after entertaining the patients (children) I’m just so grateful that I have what I have.

Could a Leftovers’ experiment ever be a failure in your eyes, if so, how?
Absolutely. Part of our manifesto is that our experiment can fail. And each experiment sometimes turns a certain way. It can go from looking at the body to ownership of art in one experiment which was a total surprise for us. It can go from a piece about language becoming a piece about guilt of Australian culture, again a total surprise. It can go from a Jacobean ‘who-dunnit’ to questioning the need for gender binary identification. So, each work experiment morphs into something. I used to be scared of failure and now I totally embrace it because it means that we, the artists and the audience, all learnt something together. So, you could say that potentially every experiment thus far has been an absolute failure – and success.

Encounter My Heart was inspired by an execution. How do you separate your own opinions from your experiments to ask unbiased questions?
You need a really pretty fucking good team behind you. You need people that are not afraid of taking your idea, ripping it up and throwing it on the floor in front of your feet. I have a handful of exquisite artists that I trust implicitly with my artistic life. Anytime I have an idea, especially with this last one, Encounter My Heart, I take it to them and I ask them for the honest authentic and visceral response. It is the team behind the yellow ‘X’ that does make the work fair, unbiased and experiential. It is them. Wholly it is them.

Tim Kemp

Curly Fries: We were at dinner once and I said, “take a seat…” You said, “I am.” What’s it like being so tall?
Tim Kemp: I thought that was a joke. I can’t believe that’s one of your 5 questions you absolutely gorgeous fool of a man. At 6ft 1 I’m hardly especially tall? You’re the kind of person that would waste a Genie in a Bottle. To try to take it seriously, one thing that I had to learn at ACA was that you can be big and have good intentions. People will read that and not fear you. I came to Sydney with a lot of baggage from Newcastle as a footballer – that I’d be identified as a thug. It was a kind of self-fulling prophecy because I was so physically guarded it read as stand-offish? To summarise – I think my biggest journey at acting school was learning to be comfortable in my own body.

Why do you work for The Leftovers Collective?
I mean there’s a whole a series of reasons why I do work for the leftovers collective. I think my major motivator is your respect for individual artistry. If I help you make a promotional video, or a document or devise with you on a show, it’s a true collaboration and the product is something I’m proud of. I feel agency and I’m actually more proud of how much we throw away in our artmaking. The objective of the works are always to ask a question and we make sure that we do that.

Encounter My Heart deals with confessions, do you have something small you’d like to
share?

I’m a fiddler. Anytime I’m thinking deeply my hands are busy. I think in all honesty it was a very lame attempt to be cool at 16. Showing off to the ladies my speed records for 3×3 and 4×4 cubes. It is still a great icebreaker though.

Does the strong nature of our work concern you?
In a word no. To take Adonis Procedure for example – our provocations were Greek ideals of beauty and how we still subscribe so much worth to those physical ideals. Yet the night was a carnival of fake cash and glamour and laughter. It wasn’t until AFTER the experiment was over that we talked about the questions the work brought up. People were allowed to experience the work without judgement. I think that’s the key. I think we’re interested in witnessing a true response to our works – ugly, beautiful or indifferent. We’re not at all interested in making a judgement or a statement on those responses.

What’s your take on the conviction, trial and execution of Myu and Andrew?
I think in true “Leftovers’ fashion – I’m unsure. I don’t think there is a simple answer. It is a question of humanity and mercy. Also I understand the fear that leads a community to be uncompromising. It’s a search for security. I think there’s nothing to be gained by vilifying either side. I think the tragedy is sometimes there’s no right answer to a moral dilemma.

Catch Curly Fries and Tim Kemp in Encounter My Heart.
Dates: 21 – 29 Apr, 2017
Venue: The Two Wolves, Broadway

5 Questions with Lauren Richardson and Paul Whiddon

Lauren Richardson

Paul Whiddon: Which pop star would you name your kid after?
Lauren Richardson: If it was a girl, Beyoncé. If it was a boy…Beyoncé.

What challenges did you have to face playing Diane?
Every day in the rehearsal room was a challenge, the role is quite confronting and I had to step outside of my comfort zone in terms of what I was (often quite literally) willing to bare. But I’ve learnt that that can be quite liberating.

What would you have done in Diane’s position as a 22 year old?
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say I wouldn’t have opened the door.

Who would you go younger for?
I tend to prefer older men 😉 haha

Have you ever considered becoming a teacher?
I come from a family of teachers, my best friend is a teacher, and I’m a passionate advocate for public education. But there’s no way I could do it!!! Nothing but respect and admiration for teaches who work tirelessly and often without due thanks.

Paul Whiddon

Lauren Richardson: Pop star you’d name your kid after?
Paul Whiddon: Of it was a girl Ella, after Ella Fitzgerald. If it was a boy Benjamin, after Macklemore.

Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?
Yes. My Dance teacher. I actually nearly got her in trouble after I sent her a Valentine’s Day card as a joke.

Hardest part about playing Freddie?
Not to you use too much of my own experience. There are many similarities between how Freddie is and how I am. The hardest part was taking on the differences and separating Freddie from myself.

Geek or jock in high school?
I wasn’t really either. I was in second top classes, was pretty athletic all round, but really, I was a shit. The ‘group’ I suppose to could put me in was the smokers. I wagged, smoked cigarettes and weed through school. I wish I’d done more, but I was one of those kids you’d barely see except in school plays.

What do you like about the play?
I like that it isn’t too subjective to a particular character’s point of view. But rather sparks debate with with each audience member relating to different characters

Lauren Richardson and Paul Whiddon can be seen in Consensual by Evan Placey.
Dates: 14 Mar – 15 Apr, 2017
Venue: New Theatre

5 Questions with Amanda McGregor and Laura Pike

Amanda McGregor

Laura Pike: You are eldest of three girls but Meg is the middle sister. What have you noticed about the middle sister syndrome?
Amand McGregor: Being in the middle feels like it encourages more rebellion. I know as the eldest sister – the first one off the block – I was more disciplined by my parents than my younger sisters were. Everyone knows that by the third kid, parents are more lax, like “Yeah whatever – have ice cream for dinner! Stay out all night long! We cool! You do you!” But the eldest often ends up pretty responsible and measured. I’m generalising, but it’s pretty much on point for me and my sisters, and I think for the McGraths too. Meg certainly is not responsible or measured, she lives in the moment.

Even though I’m the eldest, I certainly went through my wild phases. Meg went straight for the kill and started being a renegade from a young age, probably to differentiate herself from the very well-behaved Lenny – but also in order to mask the pain of her childhood.

Meg is a singer – have you had any aspirations about being a singer?
100% yes. At 13 I sang a TJ Dennis song with a live band at the Boyup Brook Country Music Festival. I wore black jeans and a black tassel midriff top and I felt so cool and like I was definitely a famous country music star. I still have a secret desire to sing country all day every day and be the female Willie Nelson.

Crimes Of The Heart deals with ghosts from the past? Do you have any?
I think we all do. So short answer yes, and the long answer would spill out of me with the right about of bourbon. There are certain relationships in my life where oceans lie between me and someone else because of pain and heartache. The person exists purely as a memory – they’re a ghost. So I can empathise with Meg in that sense. Everyone’s past haunts them from time to time, and I think Meg’s past is painfully unresolved.

What the wildest adventure you’ve ever had?
Probably a night in Hollywood that involved surprise drug deals, Steel Panther, a supposed member of the ‘Bra Boys, and a beautiful pit bull named Brooklyn.

Who do you get as your doppelgänger?
Sarah Jessica Parker when my hair is blonde-ish (a woman literally took a photo once not just OF me, but WITH me because “aw mate you look like that chick from Sex And The City!” It was on the Gold Coast. It was weird. I’m not sure why I posed for the photo). Then when my hair is dark, Winona Ryder, which makes all my dreams come true. I want to be Winona, forever. I think I’ll get a tattoo of her face.

Laura Pike

Amanda McGregor: What’s the most frustrating quality about Lenny that you can relate to?
Laura Pike: Oh my gosh I’ve had SO many cringe moments during rehearsal, where other cast have gone “Oh poor Lenny” and I’ve thought THAT’S ME! Lenny has this beautiful quality, where she takes care of everyone. She has a desperate need to bring people together, free them of their pain and look after others. But in doing so, she leaves herself last. This is definitely something I do and am working on strengthening. Having a healthy amount of selfishness and recognising when I need to fill up my own cup because the more I can do that, the more I can tip over into others cups.

Do you have any phobias?
YES! Waves. I grew up in PNG and we lived right on the water, but I’m so scared of waves. It didn’t help living in Bondi either. I’m especially scared of the part when the wave breaks or starts to barrel. It seems so menacing to me and people always say “you’ve just got to dive under it” but it freaks me out. And I’ve dreamt of tsunamis. I think I need to get onto this!

What are the differences between sisterhood in Mississippi 1974 and sisterhood in Sydney 2017?
Sisterhood is sisterhood, no matter what period of time or place. The relationship between sisters is universal. You grow up together, knowing each other’s vulnerabilities, strengths, traits and personality… oh and triggers. Boy do you know each other’s triggers! The bond between sisters is incredibly special. To be in the company of someone you deeply love and knowing in the pit of your being that you’d do ANYTHING for that person if they needed it. Luckily, some things have changed since the 1970s in regards to feminism and women’s rights. One of the biggest victories in Women’s Rights in the US came in 1972 when Congress approved the Equal Rights Amendment. However Mississippi was the ONLY state legislature that didn’t vote on the amendment. So when Crimes Of The Heart was set (1974) Women’s Rights hadn’t reached the South. Therefore my character Lenny (in dealing with her younger sister Babe’s marriage) is still of that old school mentality; “Don’t interfere; what goes on between and husband and wife is their own business”. Even the simple act of a woman calling a man was taboo. Today, women are more empowered to stand up for each other – I would even go so far as to say there is more of a global sisterhood of support, trust and love.

Lenny is the eldest of 3, you are the youngest of 3. What’s the worse thing your older sisters have done to you?
I also grew up in Cairns in a beautiful ‘Queenslander’ with lattice going all the way around our house. When I was a little one, I always needed to go to the loo in the middle of the night. My eldest sister came to me one day and commented on how brave I was taking such a risk. “What do you mean?” I pleaded and without blinking, she told me about the murderer that used to sit with his gun in the lattice, waiting for me each night. Bed wetting anyone?

What animal could you take down in a fight?
A pig. If it was in their pen. Filled with mud not poo. I snort when I laugh really loudly, so at least I’d fit in!

Amanda McGregor and Laura Pike can be seen in Crimes Of The Heart by Beth Henley.
Dates: 15 March – 8 April, 2017
Venue: Old Fitz Theatre