A chat with Actor, Peter Rasmussen…
Peter, tell us about your role in Richard Jordan’s new play, Machina.
Adam is a social media addict and works in the Machina corporation. He revels in the fun and superficial side of life but this hides a deeper insecurity. He is someone who has been deeply misunderstood and has great difficulty creating meaningful relationships. It’s been fascinating exploring his need to connect with someone who means something to him. He also holds a dark secret about David.
Did you audition for Director, Catarina Hebbard? How did you prepare for your audition? Did you have to post a pic to Instagram and tweet your interest in the role? Just kidding. But not really.
I did audition. I haven’t auditioned in about seven years. Even though I knew most of the people involved it was still scary. My preparation was to discover that main objective of my character and find myself inside it, if that makes sense. Yes, I did Instagram during the Audition. Just kidding. But not really.
Can you talk about preparing for the role and what the rehearsal process has been like?
It’s been a challenging process for me but made so much easier by having wonderful people to work with. Richard Jordan’s script is brilliant. Catarina Hebbard creates a wonderful environment to work in. The rest of the cast are fun, open and very hard working.
A lot of the work has been to find how this world works and the fact that no character ever leaves the stage. Although people enter and exit scenes their story continues.
Above all, it’s been a pleasure to be working.
How do you learn lines?
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who read a script and have it down straight away. I’ve been experimenting with visual techniques of linking images which has been working well. Also, if you know why you are saying something and really understand the script, you can get to a place where saying the next line becomes an inevitable response to the previous line. Most of all, I try and make it fun and exciting for myself, then I remember.
What do you look for in the other characters to help you construct your character?
Back in my uni days I was taught to go through the script and see what all the other characters say about your character.
Once we get up on the floor it’s great to experiment with different things, while working with the other actors.
How important are relationships on stage? Do you have some hot tips for connecting with other actors?
Listen. Really listen. I know if I let my concentration wander off the other actor, I lose what I’m doing. It’s awful to watch two actors saying lines near each other, without caring what is happening in the other actors. That being said it’s a very hard thing to do. I like to try and get a reaction from the other actors on every line. Provided each action serves the story, this works for me.
What else do you teach when you work with actors?
I presume you are talking about my acting classes. I teach acting on Monday and Wednesday evenings at Griffith University Film. It’s been wonderful to teach talented Brisbane actors for the last 2 years. I love to see revisiting performances and we have been coming up with same amazing stuff in class. For anyone who is interested please visit my website.
How do you feel about the Australian theatre scene at the moment? How is our film and television industry looking?
I am always excited by the amazing talent of Australian Theatre makers and the film and TV industry. I’m excited that people in Brisbane are embracing the arts in a big way. There seems to be more happening that ever before.
How versatile do our actors need to be and how do they find good training and good representation?
Actors always need to have a good range. Now, by good range, I mean be able to see and live inside many situations. Actors who do one well will be limited. For instance, actors who get on our soaps either learn how to expand their range and go onto international careers or get stuck in one thing, leave after three years and have no career. We must always expand and grow what we do in order to fit with the unpredictable nature of what roles become available. I highly recommend training in order to stay strong as an actor.
As an actor, how important is a public online profile? Should actors be tweeting more often? Which is your favourite social media platform for actors?
As far as I can see, social media is for actors to connect with other people in Film and TV and Theatre generally for unpaid gigs. In terms of higher end things the old systems of Agents and Casting Directors is the major way people get paid work.
I tend to be on Facebook but I understand this is pretty old hat now. I have a twitter account and Instagram is still something I haven’t tried.
Do you think we’re less social in real life than we have been in the past? How important are real life connections? Are we missing networking opportunities offline?
As a person approaching 40 I find social networking helps me stay in touch with the people I care about. We can arrange to catch up more easily than ever before. I don’t think I see any less of the people I care about because of social media. Sometimes, I feel the opposite.
If I want to hide people have about 10 different ways they can send me a message and that doesn’t include knocking on my door and saying hi. It can be trickier to have that alone time.