Emily Goddard plays Poppy Norton-Taylor in Noises Off and the assistant stage manager in Nothing On.
What makes Noises Off such an iconic play?
I think it has the perfect combination of flawed, loveable & relatable characters trying very hard and an awful lot of stuff going wrong. It’s rare to be given a glimpse of the backstage business of theatre and a lot that happens in the play isn’t too far from the truth in some circumstances! I think there’s a misconception that acting is glamorous and this play gloriously shatters that. The script is a masterpiece, too. A farce within a farce that intertwines nine hilarious characters, 6 of which play 6 other hilarious characters…and then unravels them all over three acts. Not even the sardines get out unscathed.
What do you LOVE and what do you LOATHE about performing in a farce?
During rehearsals we spoke about Farce being tragedy at a thousand revolutions a minute…or was that a second? I love that we can laugh at and play and make ridiculous the catastrophes these people find themselves in, there’s huge joy in that. The flip side of that is that the timing has to be so technically precise that it sometimes feels like there’s less room for inventiveness within it. We have to stick very closely to what the script prescribes.
What is your favourite line in the play (it doesn’t have to be your own)?
The moment when Belinda & Freddie rehearse their applause.
What are you most looking forward to about bringing this show to Melbourne audiences?
All of us together escaping the wintery gloom outside and laughing ourselves silly for 2 and a half hours. (Well us actors will be laughing on the inside). This play is the perfect laughter medicine for a rainy winter’s night. And I think we could all do with some laughter medicine right now.
What makes Sam Strong a great director?
Sam gives actors a lot of freedom to be inventive with their offers, I think he has a huge amount of trust in our instincts and our individual process. He also gives us hugs before every run of the show. He is the total opposite of Lloyd (the director in Noises Off) and for that I am very grateful.
What do you like about performing/working on a co-production between two state theatre companies?
Having the opportunity to collaborate with actors and creatives from other parts of the country, giving the work a much longer life and sharing it with double the audiences, and exploring new places – what a treat to have just spent 2 and a half months in the Brisbane sunshine!
Can you tell us three highlights from the Noises Off season so far?
1. Sharing the work with an audience and hearing all the laughter for the very first time.
2. Being asked by another actor what his line was for when his actual line was asking my character what his line was. The levels of meta in this production never cease to delight me. Though I should add no one has brought out a real axe.
3. Sitting in my dressing room during act 3 every night and listening to the waves of laughter from the audience that border on hysteria. My favourite nights are always when one person has a particularly funny laugh. After waiting for half an hour Simon and I get to walk into all the chaos at the very end. It’s one of my favourite moments.
Noises Off plays at Arts Centre Melbourne from 8 July.