On the Couch with Christina O’Neill

Christina O'Neill_photo by Lachlan Woods oncWho is Christina O’Neill?
An actor, a storyteller, a singer; currently rehearsing Show Boat at The Production Company.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Worry less.

Who inspires you and why?
Mark Rylance for his amazing craft, emotional accessibility and breadth, his understanding of text and form, his brain. He is a genius. Seeing him in ‘Jerusalem’ was the most compelling performance I’ve ever seen onstage. His humanity was just pouring out of him.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I had the power to… I’d bring peace & resolution to Israel and Palestine. I think we all would. But as for what is within my powers? Be a sponge. Learn about everything. Be informed. Pass that on. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is the breeding ground of fear.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I would have previously said New York for all its glamour, its frenetic but exciting pace and all the possibilities the city holds for a kid with a dime and a dream… but I’m planning a big trip to France next year. I have a feeling there is a Francophile in me dying to get out. I wear navy stripes a lot, listen to Serge Gainsbourg & have a penchant for soft, pungent cheeses. Oui?

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Pope Joan for breakfast, ACMI for a film, Bar Americano for the most perfect Negroni and then Cumulus Inc for everything on their menu. Why? Because it’d be silly not to.

What are you currently reading?
Uncle Tom’s Cabin

What are you currently listening to?
The Wish I Was Here soundtrack. Zach Braff has handpicked songs from The Shins, Cat Power, Bon Iver and pretty much all my favourite musicians out there. It’s dreamy.

Happiness is?
Hard to define. Something you probably shouldn’t go searching for. Something you find when you take the attention off yourself and onto others. Acts of kindness. Selfless gestures…become selfish happiness? Something like that. 

What does the future hold for you?
The immediate future holds a season of playing southern songstress, Julie LaVerne in The Production Company’s Show Boat. When I was growing up I was obsessed with Gone with the Wind – so getting to play a Southern ‘belle’ is pretty much a childhood dream coming true – I do declare!

Christina O’Neill graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 2005 and has also trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting (New York) and at 16th Street Actors Studio (Melbourne).

She recently appeared in Victorian Opera’s production of Into The Woods as The Baker’s Wife, and  follows her critically acclaimed performance as Dot in Sunday in the Park with George last year. Other musical theatre credits include: Prodigal, Monty Pythons Spamalot, Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical and as Christmas Eve in Avenue Q – for which she won a 2010 Best Supporting Actress Helpmann Award.

Christine’s theatre credits include: Gaybies (MTC) for the Midsumma Festival, April White in Savage in Limbo for Workhorse Theatre Company, Bellville, and The Motherf**ker With The Hat. Her Film and TV credits include: The Great Raid, Best of British Comedy, Jeopardy, and Mornings with Kerri-Anne.

Christine is currently appearing in The Production Company’s Show Boat at Arts Centre Melbourne (16 – 24 August). For more information, visit: www.theproductioncompany.com.au for details.

Image: Christine O’Neill – photo by Lachlan Woods