Nicholas Papademetriou, star and producer of Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker chats to thebuzzfromSydney, ahead of the play opening at the Riverside Theatre Parramatta this week.
Joy – This production is a reunion of sorts, with the exception of Andrew Langcake as Aston. How did it feel getting back together with the others again?
Nicholas – It is a kind of reunion – perhaps we should be doing Pinter’s The Homecoming! Lol. But so much is different too – a new cast member, a new set and all new lighting and sound designs, so the experience feels very different really. The words, of course, are definitely the same, and they are an absolute joy to immerse ourselves in again.
Joy – Is taking Pinter to Parramatta a daunting task at all for you?
Nicholas – Not entirely – It’s such a terrific venue, and everyone there has been so supportive that we’re looking forward to it. The only daunting thing is meeting the audience expectation – the bookings have been going well, and there is a market in the West for Mr. Pinter, obviously, so we have to give them the best show we can. Which I am sure, we will! I think it’s important to really make sure that people know that this is a very amusing play as well as very dark – it really treads that line so well. It’s mesemerising that way!
Joy – There are advantages and disadvantages to mounting a play that is nearly sixty years old, what do you see as the themes in The Caretaker that are still relatable in 2019?
Nicholas – It’s definitely a play of its time given the post war gloom that England was still emerging from, but it resonates so powerfully today given its main themes are about isolation and connection. Here are three people feeling isolated from society and trying very hard to find themselves and where they fit in. They can’t find a connection. I think this is so true of modern society, even with the online blitz, where one can have a thousand friends, but one can still be alone. The play is very powerful in this context. Modern life can be extremely isolating. There are so many other issues this play touches as well – ageing, mental health, family connections. It’s pretty full. One London critic wrote about the 2016 production: “this marvelous drama makes you reconsider it every time it is produced.”
Joy – Your attention to finicky detail in your characters is amazing, after a run of something like Freud’s Last Session what do you do to relax in your down-time?
Nicholas – Down-time? Who has down-time? LOL. Honestly, my life is quite insane, so I don’t get much time out. I think it should be turned into some crazy sit-com. I live out of Sydney so much of my time is spent in the car; my mother is very old – the Ancient Greek as I call her – so at 94 she requires a lot of attention. I am acting, producing and co-directing this, so as I say…down-time? Never heard of it! BUT once I am on stage, I really do get lost in that world for the 2 hours I’m on there, so that is my down-time. And the attention to detail is something that I just find fascinating, as it comes from within for me, rather than sourcing it – if that makes sense – something just happens when I act and out comes this stuff. Weird vocal things, and crazy little movements and gestures. They just pop out during rehearsals…
Joy – You had an incredibly busy and productive year last year, particularly towards the end of 2018, what is next for you?
Nicholas – Ah ok. So on a personal level I take my Ancient Greek to Germany for my eldest niece’s wedding in May. Business Class. Hey! Just realised: down-time! LOL. Before that I will be the title role in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner (Little Eggs Collective at KXT) and at the end of the year I am in The Odd Couple at The Ensemble, as one of the ensemble.
A big thanks NIcholas for taking time out of his hectic schedule and letting me in on his process, The Caretaker in on at Riverside Parramatta 21 – 23 Feb, for more information and tickets see: https://riversideparramatta.com.au/category/whats-on/theatre/