On the Couch with Troy Harrison

Troy Harrison oncWho is Troy Harrison?
A Husband, a new father, an artist. An actor, writer and director. A theatre maker. Artistic director of Workhorse Theatre Company. A wanna be film maker. Someone who has an interest in just about everything. I find life and people immensely interesting. I love words, I love books. I want to leave this life knowing as much as I can about as much as I can. I’m Currently playing my favourite character I’ve come across. Jackie in The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Honestly; I don’t think anything. My life has been a long road full of some extraordinary experiences and some extreme lows. I have made mistakes and have had to face a lot of truths about myself along the way that were extremely difficult to swallow at the time but if that’s the life I had to live to be where I am now then I’d do it all again in a heart beat. I’m happy. What more is there in life than happiness.

Who inspires you and why?
Tough question. There are so many ways and reasons I get inspired. Experiencing your wife carry a child and then have a 40 hour labour completely drug and epidural free because that’s what’s best for our baby is about as inspiring as life gets. With work, I recently saw a production of Cyrano De Bergerac by Sport for Jove. Yalin Ozucelik who played Cyrano gave the most painfully honest and focused performance. I wanted to be on stage with him. It made me want to be a better actor. Completely inspired. And anyone who chases a dream. Really chases it. I think a lot of people would say that it’s easy to chase a dream but it’s not. You have to give up a lot and it’s fucking hard work.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I have just sat staring at that question for what feels like an eternity. When you allow yourself to get into the complexities of life and the geo-political landscape of the world we live in that becomes quite an overwhelming question. So I am going to keep my answer close to home. I had an argument recently with someone who said its an awful world to bring a child into. But I think the exact opposite. How can we truly change anything if we don‘t bring children into the world and teach them the mistakes that we as humans have made. And we make a lot. So I am going to change the world by raising my little girl to love, accept and understand everyone, to learn as much as she can and to look after this little blue dot that we all call home.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I can’t believe I’m going to pick somewhere that doesn’t include a beach and a bunch of books but I’d say just about anywhere in Italy except Rome (sorry Rome but for a city that has so much to offer the world historically you were really disappointing this time around). I went to Italy about 13 years ago and loved it. As a part of our European honeymoon my wife and I went back there last year. Lake Como, Positano, Tuscany, the Cinque Terre, Portofino, Pompeii, Genoa, Venice. The food, the wine, the negroni’s (my god the negroni’s!), the culture, the language, the history, the architecture. I loved it all. Turkey comes in a very close second. Everyone should visit Turkey at some point in their lives. It is a wonderful country filled with the most amazing people who have such a love of their culture and a want to share it.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I always take people to the Blue Mountains. I grew up out west in Mt Druitt and when ever we used to skip school we’d go to a basin in the mountains. We’d jump off rocks and swim in the water holes. It’s a really beautiful part of Sydney. I always found standing atop the mountains and looking out over them a humbling experience. And I’d take them to the theatre. Hopefully one of our productions but if we were between shows then something by one of the other companies in Sydney. There is so much talent in this city and in this country.

What are you currently reading?
I love reading and hate that I don’t have enough hours in the week to do more of it. I always have a few books going at once. Which one I pick up depends on my mood. At the moment I have book marks in The Pleasures of the Damned by Charles Bukowski, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, How The World Works by Noam Chomsky, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (currently reading Twelfth Night; or, What you Will) and a book that I can’t name as I want to turn it into a film. I am also always reading plays. Currently I am reading Frankie & Johnny in the Clare De Lune and of course the play I am working on at the moment; The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

What are you currently listening to?
Ukulele Songs by Eddie Vedder and have just re-found Tracy Chapman; so her greatest Hits. Also I can’t get the song Stolen Dance out of my head.

Happiness is?
My 5 month old daughter has just started giggling. Hearing my wife and her laugh together makes everything else seem insignificant. And being on stage playing a great role in a great play. Nothing beats the feeling of an audience coming along the journey with you. Better than any drug.

What does the future hold for you?
I truly believe that in this lifetime there is nothing but possibilities. So Who really knows. And that’s what I love about life. But hopefully it involves being able to continue doing what I love. Act, write, direct, produce and spend time with my family. Peace.

Troy Harrison is a co-creator of Workhorse Theatre Company who will present the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit The Motherf**ker with the Hat at the Eternity Playhouse from 19 September to 19 October. He also stars as the recovering alcoholic and ex-con Jackie.

Beginning in Musical Theatre, Troy toured Australia and parts of Asia with productions The Boy from Oz, Saturday Night Fever (playing the role of Double J), Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Monty Python’s Spamalot and was one of four chosen to tour Australia and NZ with Barry Humphries in his show Dame Edna Back with a Vengeance. Troy’s film and TV credits include The Quarantine Hauntings, Baz Luhrmanns Moulin Rouge, East West 101, Cops LAC, pilot The Carousel and short films Femme, The Russian and Hyperosmia.

On Stage, he played the lead role of James in The Burlesque Effect at the Newtown Theatre and for Workhorse Theatre Company he has appeared as Owen in That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play, Tony Aronica in Savage in Limbo and is ecstatic to bring Jackie back to life in this remount of The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

For more information, visit: www.darlinghursttheatre.com for details.

Image: Troy Harrison