Tarragon Theatre’s Marketing Director Lauren sat down with An Enemy of the People actors Rick Roberts, Matthew Edison, Tamara Podemski, Joe Cobden, Richard McMillan, Brandon McGibbon, and Tom Barnett to discuss the show, some on-stage memories, and working at the Tarragon.
Question 1: What is your favourite scene in An Enemy of the People?
Rick Roberts (RR): The town hall scene, because we have no idea what to expect. It’s new and surprising every night, and the audience reaction really shapes the end of the play.
Matthew Edison (ME): There is a great scene in the editor’s office in Act III, where we are all almost atomized; individualized little satellites off in our own worlds. Then if the moment suddenly affects our self-interest, we snap back in. The movement reflects this too.
Joe Cobden (JC): The micro-scene between my character and his wife. There is a small, four line exchange between us, and it’s easy to see the love that’s there. It’s the one very hopeful moment in the show.
Tamara Podemski (TP): The final moment between my character and Joe. In that scene the audience really has to feel the weight of the reality for these characters.
Brandon McGibbon (BM): I think the musical aspect is really fun, and seeing the audience reaction to hearing music when they came expecting an Ibsen play.
Joe Cobden & Tamara Podemski in Joe’s favourite scene (mentioned above)
Question 2: Have you ever been in a band?
JC: I once was in a four part a capella harmony group called Four Frères in Montreal.
RR: The Groovy Resources in Edmonton. I played the drums.
ME: Most recently No City Fun, playing guitar, kazoo, keyboards, and on vocals.
BM: I was in a band called ElastoCitizens on guitar & vocals. It was a great mix of actors and musicians. We actually were a part of a film called Picture Day. The writer/director was a fan of the band and shot some of our live concerts, and then ended up using us as actors in the film and including some of that concert footage.
TP: After this show I will actually be writing and recording my fourth album for ‘Tamara Podemski‘.
Richard McMillan (RM): When I was younger I was in a band called Gingerfoot with Tom Barnett’s sister, and he came to see us when he was young!
Question 3: What is one thing you can’t live without?
ME: Cookies. Preferably homemade.
RR: My family.
BM: My family. And my instruments, but that’s a far distant second.
RM: Butter tarts. And of course, my family.
Tom Barnett (TB): My daughter, Violet.
Matthew Edison, Joe Cobden, Rick Roberts, and Tom Barnett in An Enemy of the People
Question 4: What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
JC: Throwing a bucket of water in somebody’s face.
TB: Probably a bucket of water being thrown in my face!
RR: Once in a show called Inexpressible Island, I left out a key piece of dialogue, so later in the scene I added it back in. It kind of threw the whole scene into chaos, which ended with a plate being thrown across the stage at me.
RM: I played Scar in the first production of The Lion King in Toronto. In the first two months we had to stop the show about 30 times [because of all the complex technology in the show]. I would often have to improvise for long stretches of time, even up to an hour. Once I ended up inventing a whole story about why I was called Scar.
TP: As Maureen in Rent on Broadway, during the mooning scene during one of the shows, my (very tight) pants split completely, leaving me basically half naked on stage. I had a split second to run off during a blackout, and run upstairs to get new pants.
Question 5: What is your favourite part about working at the Tarragon?
JC: Each show is different. And I love this cast.
RR: I have been a playwright-in-residence, a producer, and an actor here. So to me, it feels a bit like my theatrical home.
ME: As a playwright’s theatre, the focus on the play really comes first. Having five weeks of rehearsal demonstrates a real respect for the art. This is especially important with new, complex plays.
TB: I like that we get involved in productions at an early stage through workshops, public readings, etc. It’s exciting to hear the reactions, see the transformations; it feels like you have been a part of the creative process in a way that actors don’t often get to do.
RM: We are always doing very interesting new work.
BM: We build up new Canadian plays from start to finish. That doesn’t really happen anywhere else.
TP: As a new mother, the best part has been the support and accommodation from the cast, crew, stage management, and others at the Tarragon. That made it possible for a new mom to continue to do what she loves.
An Enemy of the People is on stage now at the Tarragon Theatre until October 26th. Visit www.tarragontheatre.com for tickets.
Adapted by Florian Borchmeyer
Originally adapted for the Schaubühne (Berlin)
Toronto Staging by Richard Rose
English translation by Maria Milisavljevic