Show artwork for Pure Creative Energy
Gabriel Fancourt in rehearsal. Photo by Deryk McAlpin.
Interviews

Pure Creative Energy

Gabriel Fancourt tells us about playing the characters of Nick and Zac in Così.

What do you think the driving force behind your character/s is?

Zac's driving force is pure creative energy. He's an artist and works from a creative impulse that is completely his own. Nick's driving force is to change the way Australia views the war in Vietnam. He lives his life by absolute ideals and values.

How do you inhabit your character? Do they have specific gestures, movements, facial expressions, habits?

I use a physical entry point for my characters. For Zac, it's his medication that will dictate how he behaves in any given scene, so I'll look for clues in the text to get an idea of what physical state he's in; tired, dizzy, agitated, focused, and carry that into the scene in pursuing his goals. I like to wear his big jacket in rehearsals to keep a sense of how he moves. Nick is a much more intellectually driven character, so I try to lead with the head.

How does your character grow during the course of the play?

Zac has a growing frustration through the play that his creative ideas aren't being taken seriously. He's an interesting character because he's one of the most creative characters, yet he's not in the final performance in Act 2. His drug habit gets the better of him, so he doesn't have the catharsis that the other characters have through performing in the show.

Nick grows more and more distant from his friend Lewis, at the same time becoming more and more successful in his anti-war Activism.

Can you describe a moment/exercise from rehearsal that helped you interpret/develop your character?

Both Zac and Nick have an uncompromising view of the world. Neither will back off an inch from what they believe is correct. But they differ from there in that Zac lives in a creative free flow and Nick works from Socio-political ideals and beliefs. I find that in rehearsals if I can start to think the way the character thinks; to get a sense of their internal monologue running in between the text that motivates what they say and what they take exception to, then things start to flow from there.

How important is experimentation/improvisation in rehearsal for you, in regards to interpreting script/characters?

I think improvisation is incredibly important. It's only by improvising and experimenting that you start to find the limits of what your character can be. I think that's what rehearsals are for, for the most part. In every wrong choice you make, you're mapping out a clearer picture of your character.

Do you have a favourite line from the script? It mightn’t be your own. Why is it your favourite?

My favourite line is one of Zac's. In Act 2 he says "I can't stand real things." when asked about the set of the Opera. It's a response to a particular question but it says so much about who Zac is and why he's in the institution and why he may have a dependency on drugs.

 

Così plays at Southbank Theatre from 30 April. 

Published on 1 May 2019

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