My Theatre: Nola Rae

Feature in Issue 10-4 | Winter 1998

What did you see the first time you went to the theatre?

Swan Lake with the Borovansky Ballet in Sydney at the age of four.

What is the most recent performance you’ve seen?

Bolek Polivka in his new autobiographical show The Lady at the Balcony in Kolin, Czech Republic in September.

Which single performance has inspired you the most?

It’s a toss up between Margot Fonteyn dancing the Pizzicato from Sylvia, in a recital programme in Sydney, where the entire audience stood up and stamped until she repeated the solo, or the first time I saw Marcel Marceau play in London, a performance that sealed my fate.

Which actor, alive or dead, makes you laugh the most?

Hardy of Laurel and Hardy, followed closely by Gösta Ekman, a Swedish actor, the king of pratfall, in a film called Picasso’s Adventures.

Who is your favourite playwright?

William Shakespeare.

When was the last time you walked out of a theatre before the end of a show?

In 1995 in Orebo, Sweden when I went to see a stage play staring Gösta Ekman… Too much Swedish, not enough pratfalls.

When was the last time you cried at the theatre?

In Lisbon watching the Colombaioni Brothers in 1994. These were tears of laughter, by the way.

Who is your favourite actor?

Jean-Louis Barrault for his intensity and Katherine Hunter for her virtuosity.

If you could meet any theatre practitioner, alive or dead, who would it be?

Emanuel Schikanede, actor/singer/manager, who commissioned Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It is said that he once put on 90 productions in one year I would like to ask him ‘how’?

Which contemporary theatre director’s work do you most admire?

Simon McBurney, a director who has opened many eyes in established circles, with work that taps into his roots in fringe theatre.

What does ‘physical theatre’ mean to you?

Theatre of sweat, where the performer delights and moves the audience without recourse to spoken language.

What would you do if you didn’t work in theatre?

I would like to be a musician, but it’s probably too late for that….

If you could send one message to Chris Smith, what would it be?

Listen to practising artists more. They are more important than the administrators. Help remove barriers of administration that hamstring art.

Nola Rae performs Mozart Preposteroso at The Pleasance, London as part of the London International Mime Festival, 14-16 January. She is also teaching a one-day mime workshop at The Pleasance on 13 January.

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