Show artwork for Meet Your Chorus: Milo Hartill
Q&A

Cyrano

Meet Your Chorus: Milo Hartill

A self-identified ‘silly bean’, Milo Hartill is excited to be taking on the role of chorus member 1 in Cyrano, and trying to passively and directly influence the play’s narrative to go in a less tragic way.

By Melanie Sheridan

I am a silly bean to be honest. A giggling, high-energy 21-year-old baby! I love to perform and am super excited to be taking on the role of 1 in Cyrano, and couldn’t think of a better show to be in for my mainstage debut. I model and do a lot of drag/burlesque when I am not acting. I like to advocate for Black Lives Matter and try to be a voice for people within the Black, fat and queer communities, in the modelling and performing world, and I’m happy to be able to represent at MTC!

Tell us about your character

1 is nurturing character in Cyrano, caring so dearly and deeply for Cyrano and Roxanne in the journey the play takes, and using food and music as a tool in doing this. Throughout the action, 1 becomes pretty exhausted by the hurt Cyrano inflicts on herself, acting as a friend trying to talk her out of the dark place. 1 is an affectionate friend who gives to those around her, serving their best interest in the story throughout. She can, however, be pretty stern and tough, which often leads to a laugh with the other chorus members in the show.

How do you embody your character?

In a lot of my embodiment of character I am taking up space with my body and voice, and taking on physical stances and positions of certainty and knowledge, often trying to win battles about the direction of the narrative, and what is required of the other characters to make this a story worth telling.

Costume certainly helps, specifically shoes for finding character and how they take up space on the stage, and how they do this alongside the other characters. Getting to wear my show shoes in rehearsals (some humble low-top librarian Doc Martens), and feeling my inner school teacher trying to passively and directly influence the narrative to go in a less tragic way: it helped me find out a lot about how I inhabit 1. Speaking with conviction and certainty has been my friend in finding 1, as has speaking to the other chorus members, who are working to steer the narrative in the way they think serves the story the best.

What creative challenges does the role present you as an actor?

Whether it be a year on Zoom, or being in a room with such incredible actors and people, taking on a role with a lot of authority and self-assured knowledge has been a bit challenging throughout the rehearsal process, especially having to step up to this role in a room where I often feel like a silly sausage a lot of the time. Working with [director] Sarah Goodes and developing language around the character that makes sense to me, and learning from watching and asking the others in the rehearsal room, has been helpful with overcoming this. Big shout-out to the cast; you da best!

 

I really love to laugh, and making other people laugh has always been something that has brought me joy

 

Taking up space in the room vocally and physically, in a post/present Zoom world, has also been more challenging than I initially thought, as we are used to making ourselves smaller for the Zoom box. We are working on this throughout with Sarah’s direction, trying to serve the text and other actors as best we can and working with a vocal coach in rehearsal.

I also have a major ‘resting stressed face’ problem! It’s kind of like ‘resting bitch face’ but with more angst. My ‘resting’ and ‘in thought’ faces consist of a scrunched face and furrowed brows, but the less I have to have thinky thoughts (which seems to relax as we continue with the rehearsals process), the less this is an issue. I’m working through this by having more thinky thoughts at home hahaha, and having quicker communication with our director and creatives in the room!

What made you want to be an actor? 

It’s all a bit blurred now but I knew I was gonna perform from a pretty young age. I always liked being on stage, and who doesn’t like a bit of attention and applause? But my first performance when I knew this was IT for me was my year 5 talent show, where I sang Car Wash dressed as Austin Powers! I went to a performing arts high school in Perth and then WAAPA and am currently in my third year of a Musical Theatre BFA at the Victorian College of the Arts.

I really love to laugh, and making other people laugh has always been something that has brought me joy. In what other career do you get to do that, and truly get to make people relate and feel represented? I hope that through performance as well, I can continue to make people feel represented on screens and stages, being a plus size, queer, mixed-race Black actor.

Published on 27 July 2021

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