Two artists remount summer fest hits this week
First theatre memory?
mike mcphaden: Does Mr. Dressup and the Tickle Trunk count?
alon nashman: Camp Wahanowin, where I saw how a play could alter an entire community’s energy.
What made you want to get on the stage?
nashman: One of the counsellors pushed me — literally.
mcphaden: As a teen, I saw a show at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and kept thinking, “This is their job.”
First memorable performance?
mcphaden: Grade two Christmas concert, where I said my one line five minutes early.
nashman: Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio.
When did you know you might be good at it?
mcphaden: Grade 11 drama night. With a little tape on my glasses, they were rolling in the aisles.
nashman: When I realized people laughed when I thought I was being serious.
mcphaden: Winnipeg’s Ellen Peterson, Timothy Findley, Andrew Moodie, Sheldon Rosen, Kurt Vonnegut and the movie Election.
nashman: The Royal Shakespeare Company, Diego Matamoros, Jason Sherman, Jean Asselin and Laszlo Marton, who kicked my ass.
You’re the love child of two artists who are they?
nashman: Roberto Benigni and Yoko Ono.
mcphaden: Tim Robbins and Tom Robbins.
What’s your show about in one sentence?
nashman: The thinning of the imagination that often accompanies the thickening of pubic hairs.
mcphaden: A man in 1950 tries to deal with amnesia while another man mistakes him for an intruder.
Your play premiered two years ago. What did you learn from that production?
nashman: Don’t get rained out when Kate Taylor’s coming.
mcphaden: First you have to start. Then all those grey winter days at the computer can add up to something.
What’s the key to getting a remount?
mcphaden: 100 small favours from friends, family and colleagues. And a dozen big ones.
nashman: Think of it as a new show.
What’s new this time around?
mcphaden: 25 minutes longer 25 degrees cooler.
nashman: Everything except me.
What’s your biggest challenge?
nashman: Learning the new translation — every sentence has one word changed.
mcphaden: Not giggling away rehearsal time with co-star Brendan Wall and director Patrick Conner.
Last show you saw and loved?
mcphaden: Fish/Wife, because of how it mixed laughter and pain.
nashman: The Royal Court Theatre’s Nightsongs at World Stage. Devastating intimacy.
nashman: Cyrano De Bergerac.
mcphaden: Anything involving me, designer Deeter Schurig, travel… and a Robert Lepage-sized budget.
You’re an agent. How would you describe yourself?
mcphaden: “Oh, baby, you gotta have him — he’s like Bert and Ernie in one person.”
nashman: “This guy could be big — but he keeps doing theatre.”
Best career move?
nashman: Begging my way into the Fringe production of This Hotel.
mcphaden: Coming to Toronto.
Best break in theatre?
mcphaden: When Franco Boni pulled my name at the SummerWorks 2000 lottery.
nashman: When whoever was first offered Einstein (in Picasso At The Lapin Agile) turned it down.
Any hidden talents?
mcphaden: I can cook. Hell, I can even bake.
nashman: Tuvan throat-singing.
Worst part-time job?
mcphaden: Bus boy at the Annex Future Bakery. A very long week.
nashman: Two months in law school. Not a job, exactly, but a sort of penance.
What keeps you motivated?
nashman: Refer to part-time job answer.
mcphaden: The love of a good woman and the fear of public humiliation.
What do your parents think of your profession?
mcphaden: My parents worked in factories, so they think it’s great that I have a job I love.
nashman: Mother: “So, you’re playing a duke?” Father: “Is that a musical?”
Percentage of friends in theatre?
mcphaden: 9944/100 per cent.
nashman: 68.5 per cent (accurate to within two or three beers).
If you weren’t in theatre, what would you do?
mcphaden: Become one of those freaks who speaks, like, 11 languages.
nashman: Be the Singing Rabbi.
Worst stage experience?
mcphaden: An educational play about sexual assault. For frosh. That we did in the cafeteria. While people played foozball.
nashman: Singapore. But I have nothing against the island.
Pleasures and piss-offs about the Toronto stage scene?
nashman: Pleasures: so many wonderful playwrights. Piss-offs: too many overly intellectual shows.
mcphaden: Pleasures: never a dull moment. Piss-offs: we’re so far from the rest of Canada.