Max Brown (right) with Charles Wu in Torch the Place. Photo: Jeff Busby
Max Brown (right) with Charles Wu in Torch the Place. Photo: Jeff Busby
Q&A

MTC Education

Max Brown on Torch the Place

Max Brown discusses the vocal idiosyncrasies of his character, the Asian Australian migrant experience and the 'size' of stage acting.

After appearing in series including Glitch, Secret City, Neighbours, Home and Away and The Gloaming, Max Brown returns to the stage (his first time with MTC) to step into the role of Paul in Benjamin Law's Torch the Place.

What would you say drives/motivates your character?

Paul is driven by the desire to take care of others – whether that’s making sure the people he loves are happy, or a house he builds is solid, or that his family’s investments are secure or that everyone ends up with nicely electronically dried shoes.

In particular, Paul wants to make sure that even as his wife Teresa throws herself into trying to take care of her mother and family, that he is there to take care of her.

How do you embody your character? For example, specific gestures, vocal qualities, facial expressions, style of movement or helpful costume elements?

A lot of it is vocal; I get to Paul’s voice by ‘closing off’ the back of my throat when talking and letting it get a tad growly, broadening the vowels, dropping the ‘g’ on the end of some words. Luckily, I grew up in Western Sydney, so Paul is very familiar to me.

From his voice, things like physicality and point of view start to flow.

In your opinion, what is this play about, and why is it being told now?

At its heart, Torch the Place is about grief and the ways we all try to grapple with it. On another level, it’s also about the Asian Australian migrant experience.

What’s the most exciting challenge for you in Torch the Place and why?

The most exciting challenge for me is to find the ‘size’ of stage acting as opposed to TV or film acting, while still making it feel real. Whenever I catch myself sounding or acting like anything else but a genuine human being, I know it’s something that needs extra work and attention.


See the full video to view what the rest of Torch the Place team could never give away. 


Torch the Place is on at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio.

Published on 24 February 2020

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