Doing The Splits
The many sides of Toby Truslove tell Dave Drayton about playing a character with the potential to lose it.
“Simon called up the agent – I was in Melbourne, where I’m based – and said ‘I’d like to see Toby for this’, so they flew me up and it was just more of a chat really,” Toby Truslove recalls his first involvement with Belvoir for the upcoming production of Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Strange Interlude, to be directed by Simon Stone. “I think Simon has ideas in his head, he has the fully-formed picture of what he wants in his head. So I came in, read a bit, and then went to the pub. And then I got on a plane, so that was that.”
In that vision Toby Truslove was the character of Sam Evans; amiable, affable and one of three vying for the love of Nina Leeds (despite Evans’ marriage to her), who will be portrayed by Emily Barclay. In conversation with Truslove, it seems Stone’s instincts were spot on. He darts between a serious and open discussion of the task before him and a far from serious recount of how he has prepared for it. If insanity runs in the Evans’ bloodline, Truslove appears ready to hint at its potential on stage.
“Sam’s the nice guy, certainly at the start. He’s the nice kind of inoffensive guy, a little bit naive, takes everything at face value, hopelessly in love with Nina. And she’s not forced to marry him, but it’s suggested by all around her that she should marry Sam because he’s a nice guy.
“There’s a little split personality if you like. He’s got this stuff, this potential to lose it, which we never see, but it’s there when he’s talking to himself and he’s got these distinct voices – the pathetic voice and the stronger voice, which he kind of grows into, as he gets older that becomes his main voice and he loses the pathetic because he thinks everything is going his way and he is living this wonderful life and he thinks his wife loves him and thinks his child loves him, so he kind of becomes that strong, almost obnoxious part of your brain,” says Truslove – clearly in serious mode – before the more jovial Truslove again takes the fore.
“I’d never read Strange Interlude, I was familiar with O’Neill – Morning Becomes Electra and that stuff – but they sent the play down and the original is a staggering five-hour piece. So I read it and was like, ‘Really? You’re going to do this? You’re going to do this – this, this is a thing?’” Truslove impersonates himself toeing the line between disbelief and incredulity. “And he was like ‘No no, we’re going to the, ah, the Simon Stone treatment to it’.”
While the accuracy of Truslove’s second impersonation could be questioned – it’s doubtful Stone really refers to his practice in the third person – it gets the point across. Strange Interlude, as with Thyestes and The Wild Duck before it, has been drastically reshaped, rewritten, and cut down by Stone.
“Simon said it was going to change substantially, and as an actor there’s a bit of trust involved, you go ‘alright, what kind of change? How?’” says Truslove, before launching into another questionable impersonation of Stone: “‘It’s going to be set on a spaceship! And everyone’s robots!’
“I assumed that wasn’t what was going to happen, but there’s no guarantee.”
Upstairs, Belvoir St Theatre until 17 June.
Drum (May 8, 2012)
ON theMusic TODAY
SXSW AT ST KILDA FILM FEST: We talk to Austin's SXSW Film Festival curator and you can watch three of the SXSW faves to be showcased in Melbourne.
SPA CONFIDENTIAL: As Sweden riots in the wake of Eurovision, The Voice produceres are allegdly concerned Australia will be next.
FILM CAREW: No educated guesswork here - these are the (already seen) 10 best flicks from the Sydney Film Festival.
THEMUSIC SESSIONS: The wonderful Beth Orton joined us for a song and a chat while she was recently in Australia. Check it out here.
RAIN ON THE PARADE: The snubs and the scores of The Great Gatsby’s red carpet.
PREMIERE: Be among the first to see the brand new clip from In Hearts Wake.
Free daily music news
Inpress Magazine Subscription
Melbourne is one of the few true rock & roll capitals of the world and Inpress magazine is the voice of this great rock & roll city. As Melbourne's most credible and cutting edge rock bible.
Indy Band Poster It
From the wall to the web the poster it is an inexpensive way to have you tour poster on The Guide.
The Band's Guide To Getting A Record Deal
In a jargon-free, easy-to-understand, practical style, the Band's Guide... steers readers through every aspect of getting a foothold in the music business
Australasian Music Industry Directory - Education Edition #49!
The ultimate print sourcebook for all the contacts in the Australian music market - thousands of listed companies & individuals in over 50 categories.
Arts Advertising Packages
Advertiose your next arts project in print, online and iPad from just $90!
© 2012–13 Street Press Australia Pty Ltd