Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

COMO ac­tor Toni Scan­lon may have adopted Brunswick Heads in NSW as her home but her east coast base could never beat a Cottes­loe sun­set.

Scan­lon was at the beach for this in­ter­view fol­low­ing re­hearsal for Black Swan State The­atre Com­pany’s An­gels in Amer­ica, her first pro­duc­tion in Perth since per­form­ing in Dorothy Hewett play Fields of Heaven at The Play­house The­atre 34 years ago.

Although the­atre is her first love, Scan­lon said she was still most recog­nised for her six years on Aus­tralia drama Wa­ter Rats where she cited the cater­ing and con­sis­tency of a pay cheque as the high­lights of the gig.

“Get­ting a gig on tele­vi­sion is like win­ning the lot­tery,” she said.

She jumped at the chance to re­turn home for the Black Swan sea­son of Tony Kush­ner’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-win­ning play.

Set in 1985 New York, the drama fol­lows young gay man Prior Wal­ter who has been di­ag­nosed with AIDS and aban­doned by his lover.

He is vis­ited in a dream by an angel who brands him a prophet and tasks him with sav­ing hu­man­ity from them­selves.

“It is a crack­ingly good play; it is just such a dy­namic, ex­tra­or­di­nary piece of work and I don’t know any ac­tor who wouldn’t love to do it,” Scan­lon said.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic piece with great themes and at the end of the day it’s funny, sur­real, hon­est and con­fronting, and that makes for a bloody good night at the the­atre.”

Scan­lon said she had drawn on her Stanislavski’s sys­tem of trans­for­ma­tion train­ing at Drama Cen­tre Lon­don to play mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters in the pro­duc­tion, rang­ing from Mor­mon mother Han­nah to an 88-yearold rabbi and his­tor­i­cal fig­ure Ethel Rosen­berg.

“It’s set when the world was try­ing to get its head around the AIDS epi­demic,” she said.

“It shows us how far we’ve come by over­com­ing prej­u­dice and fac­ing that prob­lem head on, at least here in the West.

“But in an­other way, the play shows us how much we need to face and make repa­ra­tions for things like climate change, cor­po­rate greed and po­lit­i­cal in­ep­ti­tude.

“It makes us look at the no­tion of real re­spon­si­bil­ity which of­ten re­quires us to change; Tony Kush­ner said we would rather die than change.”

Tanya MacNaughton

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d453136

Toni Scan­lon jumped at the chance to re­turn home for the Black Swan sea­son of An­gels in Amer­ica.

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