Joy – What made you and the others choose The Serpent’s Teeth for production?
Jens – In November of last year, Danny Ball, Nick Hasemann and myself began a collaborative partnership with director Kristine Landon-Smith. We started working on a Headphone Verbatim show called ‘I Walk In Your Words’ which opened at Blood Moon Theatre and then went on to play at ATYP at the start of this year. We had been speaking about creating a platform for early-career actors to work with established professionals such as Kristine. She had taught the technique of Headphone Verbatim at NIDA so it seemed like a perfect basis for a show. We wanted to continue putting on work in Sydney and utilising Kristine’s ‘Intracultural’ practice which draws on the actor’s cultural uniqueness, an element so often ignored in the professional acting space. We spoke about putting on a production in 2018 that supported this ethos and The Serpent’s Teeth was really a perfect fit. Kristine had directed the piece before at NIDA and the play seemed so incredibly relevant, now more than ever, with wars and borders of separation coming up more and more across the world. We put it forward for the 2018 season at the Kings Cross Theatre and it just seemed to work out very well and KXT bAKEHOUSE was very excited about housing a production that was so in line with their ethos.
Joy - You have your actor’s and your producer’s hat on for this one, was that a struggle at all for you?
Jens – I can’t say that working as a producer/actor wasn’t ever a challenge. It took a bit of adjusting in the start to be able to switch off the producer brain and bring the actor to the rehearsal room. But having done it before on the Headphone Verbatim piece made it an easier transition this time. And being able to work on both the creative and business side of things was immensely rewarding for me. Often I miss either one or the other, but having the chance to not only act but also be behind the creative and practical decisions is something I’ve come to realise I enjoy very much.
Joy – What play (apart from this one) is it your dream to make?
Jens – I am really interested in creating shows with music and with actors who sing in a space such as the Kings Cross Theatre (KXT). Often musicals or plays with music can be quite grandiose or expected to be performed in a conventional proscenium arch theatre with a huge orchestra and twenty-four fly-in set pieces. But the idea of creating a show with original composition designed around the actors’ unique voices for an intimate space such as the KXT really excites me. You get a glimpse of this in The Serpent’s Teeth with some ensemble singing and some original music composed for the production. I guess this is what ignited the idea for this kind of work.
Joy – What do you do to relax in your down-time (non theatre-related activities!)
Jens – I play piano. Always have and always will. There was a point in my late teens when I thought I would go to conservatorium to study music. I get such pleasure from playing and it reminds me of the pleasure I had playing piano as a child.
I also go to ballet every Tuesday morning with my best friend and we have breakfast together after somewhere in Surry Hills. I also often love to sit in a quiet cafe and listen to a podcast or read about property investment.
Joy – what is next for you?
Jens – I’m about to start rehearsals for a NIDA director’s play which will take me up to Christmas when I’ll go to Queensland to spend time with my family. Then there are some very exciting producing opportunities in the pipeline for next year and I very much look forward to growing ‘Club Darls’, the variety show I co-produce and co-host with my partner Nick Hasemann. Aside from that, I’d love to spend a bit more time next year in my mother country of Denmark. I connect with the culture very much and I love speaking my tongue on a daily basis, so more time over there is a definite must!
Thanks to Jens for taking the time out to chat, the show is on at the Kings Cross Theatre, for more information and tickets to The Serpent’s Teeth see: http://www.kingsxtheatre.com/the-serpents-teeth/