Dominic Nimo is probably not a name you’ll recognise…yet.
David Berthold’s La Boite production of Shakespeare’s comedy, As You Like It, marks Nimo’s professional debut. It’s an impressive first step into the professional arena and one for which he’s grateful and also tres excited about.
Nimo graduated in 2009 from QUT’s Fine Arts Acting Course. He says he entered as an extremely quiet and shy 17 year old. The three years at QUT, training with the same 10 individuals daily, was an intense period.
Nimo’s biggest influences during acting training came from the countless mentors and the “very confronting yet valuable” Eric Morris System classes. Required reading was Eric Morris (No Acting Please). “He has many books, however; this was the first book I read as a student and it was a real introduction to Acting as a craft.” You can order Morris’s texts online from our friends at the Book Nook.
Nimo says he felt like a giant sponge, soaking up everything he could. The directors who came in to direct the actors’ 2nd and 3rd year shows were influential across all areas of Nimo’s acting training. “We were very fortunate to have such big names as Sean Mee, Bille Brown and Jennifer Flowers, to name but a few, not only direct us but also teach us throughout the entire process,” he says.
Nimo decided early to pursue acting as a career, simply for the love of it. I guess there are not many of us who go into the arts to make a fortune. “It’s very hard to explain to people the high an actor feels whilst on stage or on location for a shoot; the adrenalin that shoots through your body before you walk on stage for a show can only be compared to jumping out of an airplane before parachuting. I love theatre, I love film and I love music; there isn’t anything else I would rather do.”
Nimo’s parents support his ambition. From the small island of Samoa, they moved to Australia in 1987; English was their second language. Nimo grew up the youngest of the family (he has two sisters and a brother). “My parents were always very hard-working and from a very young age I was well aware that my parents had moved here to give us greater opportunities in life. It was because of that reason that I felt like I could pursue anything and when I told my parents I wanted to act they were nothing but supportive. They are very much like my biggest fans and I cannot express how thankful I am that they moved here, otherwise who knows what I would be doing.”
It seems that nothing will deter this ambitious young performer, though he notes, “This is a very tough industry to be in and I have learnt that first-hand from the two years I have been out of QUT. It is very easy to have your spirit broken or lose sight of your passion, however my parents did not raise a quitter. I have a very strong support system so I am not going anywhere.”
Berthold cast Nimo as Silvius, the ideal ‘Courtly Lover’ who is, Nimo explains, concerned only with his incomparable love for Phoebe, despite that love not being reciprocated. “There are many varieties of love explored throughout the play and Silvius introduces the foolery of love, suffering anything for the sake of his beloved Phoebe. I think we all, as humans, have had a lapsed moment where we became fools in love so in that respect, I can relate to Silvius. I have learnt that with characters like him it’s important to play the truth, play his heartbreak and play through the comedy, and the character will come naturally.”
Nimo is one of two new actors to the La Boite stage for this production. He says he was was extremely nervous being “one of the newbies” (Luke Cadden is the other), especially coming into a cast that has so many respected Brisbane actors.
Helen Howard (Hamlet, Colder) and Thomas Larkin (Hamlet, Julius Caesar) lead the 18-strong cast as lovers Rosalind and Orlando. Berthold said, “I needed a brilliant Rosalind. She is the indisputable centre of the play and Helen is indisputably brilliant. The role requires an actor of maturity, and Helen has that in the best possible mix of intelligence, experience and sexiness”
Berthold adds, “She needs to be matched, and Thomas was my one and only choice. He was great in Hamlet, but he blew us away as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. “They complement each other fantastically – there’ll be sparks.”
Joining Helen and Thomas are familiar faces Helen Cassidy (Orphans), Kathryn Marquet (Ruben Guthrie), Bryan Probets (Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness), Hayden Spencer (Ruben Guthrie), Trevor Stuart (Hamlet), Kate Wilson (Water Wars).
Nimo has felt completely comfortable working with the actors he has admired for so long. “Everyone has been nothing but welcoming and I am very thankful for this amazing experience. I am very quiet in the rehearsal room and that is because, much like at uni, I feel like a sponge, observing and soaking up everything that I can. I admire how free the cast is and how openly they play in the rehearsal room – sometimes when you are new you find yourself just trying to do everything right and forget everything else. That is the greatest lesson I have learnt from this experience.”
And what of working with one of our pre-eminent directors? Nimo acknowledges Berthold’s wealth of experience and observes that “he is not afraid to offer that to the young actors. This is evident by the eight student actors from QUT and Southbank Institute of Technology he has cast in this production. This is the first year that La Boite has had an actors internship program and it is great because David directs us all the same and that is very beneficial for a student actor.” Can working with a great director and with great actors help in becoming a great actor? Nimo says yes. “I think that is where you can learn the most.” Nimo admires the work of many actors, listing Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Drew Barrymore, Angela Basset and Denzel Washington, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush among those who have most influenced him thus far. Nimo says he is “a complete sucker for American reality TV.” He also keeps up with Spirited and Boardwalk Empire. He saw George Clooney in The Descendants and he’s currently reading Telesa- The Covenant Keeper by writer/blogger/teacher, Lani Wendt Young. (She’s a mother and wife as well as a writer and she states that in her ideal world, she “wouldn’t need to sleep. Ever. I would just stick my finger in a light socket and get a boost of energy whenever I got tired.”) Not just an actor, Nimo also sings. He says he loves music as much as acting. Perhaps the secret to Nimo’s boundless energy is the light socket of which Wendt Young speaks.
If Nimo were not acting, he says he would still love to be involved in the arts. “I’d love to be an A&R for a record label.” In the meantime, he’ll continue ”trucking along” on his journey as an actor and ”hope for more amazing opportunities like this one to come my way.”
In the last two years, with Berthold at the helm, La Boite has tackled two of Shakespeare’s great tragedies. “This time around David has chosen one of Shakespeare’s most infamous comedies,” Nimo reminds us. “This play is so free and playful and at times you will find yourself in tears from laughter, and as opposed to the other two plays, As You Like It ends with one of the most beautiful endings.”
One of the most famous lines from the play is uttered by Jaques, who observes, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” Nimo believes that this means the world is bigger than just one person. “For me it really puts everything into perspective. We come into this world, we play our part and then we exit.”
Rosalind falls in love with the younger Orlando at a wrestling match, as you do. Banished from the city by her usurping uncle, she disguises herself as a man, as you would.With her best friend Celia by her side, she seeks refuge in the magical Forest of Arden where she meets Orlando again and teaches him the art of love, just as she likes it.
As You Like It
at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre, Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove Village
Show Times: Tues & Wed 6.30pm, Thurs – Sat 7.30pm
Matinees 2pm Sat 24 Mar and selected mid-week shows Season 18 Feb – 24 Mar
Previews 18, 21, 22, 23 Feb (Tickets from $28)
Director: David Berthold, Designer: Renée Mulder, Lighting Designer: David Walters, Composer and Sound Designer: Guy Webster,
Assistant Directors: Heather Fairbairn and Steven Mitchell Wright
with Luke Cadden (Oliver), Helen Cassidy (Celia), Helen Howard (Rosalind), Thomas Larkin (Orlando), Kathryn Marquet (Phoebe), Dominic Nimo (Silvius), Bryan Probets (Touchstone), Hayden Spencer (Duke Frederick/Corin/Audrey), Trevor Stuart (Jaques/Adam) and Kate Wilson (Duke Senior).
Also featuring students actors from QUT and Southbank Institute of Technology: Thomas Carney, Hanna Galbraith, Thomas Hutchins, Jordan Kadell, Lucy-Ann Langkilde, Jerome Meyer, Alec Snow and Mahala Wallace.