What would you do differently to what you do now?
Oh, tough question. I think being an actor in Australia means you are almost constantly asking yourself why you chose a such a ludicrous vocation. The decision to remain acting means that all rational choices have long ago been ditched in favour of always living beyond one’s means and becoming addicted, by necessity, to a lifestyle filled with dizzying heights, crashing lows, and an
almost total lack of control. Um, I wouldn’t mind being a famous painter. I like the romanticism of having a studio and being flecked with paint all the time. Gauguin living in Tahiti seemed to have the right idea, though I’d miss the pubs in Fitzroy.
Who inspires you and why?
I get inspired by polymaths. We seem to have arrived at a time in history where everything and everyone is specialised. In order to be taken seriously in any discipline, you have to stick to it to the exclusion of everything else. I love those people in history who were proudly scientist, architect, philosopher, poet and painter. When all those things come together and inform each other. Fantastic.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Bringing tram conductors back. I think that that small bit of happiness would be a good start. The smiles on people’s faces as they stepped off the tram would soon cause a ripple-on effect until all of Melbourne were grinning. When people are happy, they make decisions based on confidence rather than fear. Fearful decisions are responsible for most of the misery in the world. Let’s start small.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
One of my favourite holiday places would be Rottnest Island off the coast of WA. It’s where I went with my family every summer as a kid growing up in Perth. It’s where I went when I was at Uni with friends. It’s the last holiday my whole family ever took together. It’s filled with so many memories of good times that if I ever get back there – the moment I step off the ferry, smell the air, I’m immediately back in my childhood.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Does ‘The Standard’ pub in Fitzroy count as an attraction? It’s certainly where I always take friends from out of town to show them a proper bar.
What are you currently reading?
Them by Jon Ronson. Hilarious, slightly worrying Gonzo journalism at it’s best.
What are you currently listening to?
Ha, right now I’ve got Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes playing. There is a 10-minute live version of If you don’t know me by now with Teddy Pendergrass singing his heart out. We’re just at the ‘spoken word’ section. It goes for most of the 10 minutes.
Pottering around the garden with my partner. The sun shining. Small jobs to be taken care of. Concentrating on that one small thing to the exclusion of all other distractions.
What does the future hold for you?
Quickest way to make an actor blanche and change the subject is to ask them about the future. Currently, my future is performing in Eddie Perfect’s excellent play The Beast. Beyond that, I’m writing a TV show for the US that hopefully will get made into a TV show. The later is not always guaranteed in this business, but I enjoy the enthusiasm the States has for projects. It’s tough to get things made here; we don’t have much money, and we sometimes forget that we don’t have all that many people in this vast country.
Toby is appearing in The Beast, currently playing at the Sydney Opera House until 21 August, before touring to Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre: 25 August – 4 September; and Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre, QPAC: 15 – 18 September 2016. For more information, visit: www.thebeastplay.com for details.
Image: Toby Truslove