On the Couch with Tyran Parke

Tyran Parke Arts Review On the CouchWho is Tyran Parke?
I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to read the story of my life so I could get the outside view and maybe understand him more. Every time I think I’ve got him pinned, he shifts and changes! What is constant is a love of stories and music. It’s always been there and now I’m lucky to make my living from that.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’m truly blessed, I honestly love directing theatre but a few years back, a big show I was contracted on was cancelled just before rehearsals were to commence and I was upset. I thought, “I’m not going to let it crush me, I can do anything” and promptly went and trained to be a zoo keeper! It was the perfect anecdote to the hype and drama of live theatre, showing up at 6.00am every morning and getting knee deep in manure.

Who inspires you and why?
Ah, so many…writers, actors, producers…the people who keep coming back to creating even though being an ‘artist’ can be quite challenging. Right now, I’m inspired by the gamut of actor’s I get to work with from my third year NIDA students to the remarkable cast of From Broadway to La Scala. To sustain a career like these four have looks easy from the outside but it takes such guts and focus and belief, aside from the enormous talent – and they are all so lovely too. It’s easy to be inspired by them! Lisa McCune was my first ever leading lady when I was an actor in The Sound of Music and she is as inspiring to me now I’m directing her as she was when I looked up at her all those years ago in my lederhosen.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I get a bit daunted by that question, there’s so much to be done and so little I feel I can do in reality. I feel like the magnitude of that idea can easily push people into avoiding real issues and I hope I’m not doing that. So, I guess I focus on what is within my power on a regular basis and I’m lucky because I often lead teams and I’m a ‘nurturer’ which helps. I know it may not change the world but through my work I am constantly reminding people that they are ‘enough’ which feels increasingly important.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Galapagos Islands. Hands down the greatest adventure of my life! It’s like walking into the dinosaur era – I mean swimming iguanas! Not even Lisa McCune can compete with that! Also, it could just be my thing about knee deep in manure?

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Well, that all depends on which city I am in. I currently live unconventionally between Sydney and Melbourne …if I was in Sydney, it’s always around the Harbour – perhaps the Opera House – I hear there’s an excellent concert featuring four stars of Australian Musical Theatre and Opera playing soon? In Melbourne, well, actually if we went to Hamer Hall, I hear there’s an excellent concert featuring four stars of Australian Musical Theatre and Opera playing soon?!? (Yes, we have a national tour so no one misses out!).

What are you currently reading?
My script for Hello Again – a musical I’m directing at NIDA as well as a lot of textbooks for my Masters in Music. I joined a ‘book club’ at the start of the year in Melbourne but theatre got in the way (It tends to do that with me!) I usually manage a Christmas read as a gift to myself!

What are you currently listening to?
One of the great things about From Broadway to La Scala is the eclectic music. Now, there’s very few musicals I don’t know backwards but classical music is new to me. I directed my first opera this year and loved it. Our Musical Supervisor, Vanessa Scammell chooses the operatic repertoire for our concerts. It is always well known but I have to do a bit of research into it in order to stage it. So right now, it’s Puccini, Verdi, Mozart (but I try and balance it with a bit of Jason Mraz!).

Happiness is?
Balance. (I’m told) And Lisa McCune (I think I may have what’s known in the business as a “showmance” with her! She’s as delightful as she seems).

What does the future hold for you?
Theatre (happily!) From Broadway to La Scala will tour nationally again, and if it’s as big a hit as it was last time, then I’m hoping it just keeps coming back and is in my future quite a lot! There are many other musicals and plays to direct, but I’m quite excited that next year, I will finally present my own concert Compositions in Melbourne. Based on the photography of my older brother, Trent Parke – the show is a collection of songs written for me by the top contemporary Broadway composers, based on his work and I’m thrilled I’m finally presenting it in Melbourne and beyond!

From Broadway to La Scala will be presented at the Sydney Opera House (18 November); Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide (24 & 25 November); Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne (30 November); Concert Hall – QPAC, Brisbane (2 December); and Perth Concert Hall (9 December). For more information, visit: www.frombroadwaytolascala.com.au for details.

Image: Tyran Parke (supplied)