Review Fix chats with Matthew Foster, who discusses “The Club,” Australian Made Entertainment’s final production in New York City before moving to Los Angeles. A veteran of both the stage and small screen, Foster talks about how he’d like the production to be remembered as well as his character, Ted Parker.
For more information on the production, click here.
The Club plays the following schedule through Saturday, September 27th:
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.
Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are $18.00 ($10.00 on Wednesdays). For more information visit www.AustralianMadeEntertainment.com. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the theater half hour prior to performance.
Running Time: 2 hours. One intermission.
Review Fix: Tell us about “The Club”
Matthew Foster: The Club is a cultural classic by Australia’s most successful playwright, David Williamson. A winner of the Australian Writer’s Guild award for Best Play, this biting satire tells the story of a once-great Australian Rules football club that is currently struggling for form. Becoming competitive again is proving difficult due to the back-stabbing and double-dealing among those who run the club. The coach wants to quit, the players threaten to strike, and the club president is embroiled in scandal. But the club’s devious administrator, in cahoots with a former player and coach, would dispense with them all if it meant the team had a shot at the championship.
Review Fix: Tell us about your character. What makes him unique or different?
Foster: Ted Parker is a puzzling fellow. He’s blustering and manic with an over-inflated sense of his own importance, which is really just a result of overcompensating for his inferiority complex. From an audience perspective, there’s an interesting struggle between feeling sympathy for Ted the downtrodden underdog, and feeling disgusted by Ted the arrogant bully.
Review Fix: What do you like most about this production?
Foster: This really is an actor’s piece. Each character is unique with his own very self-serving objectives, so there’s a lot of electricity when they clash. And they clash constantly. Add to that the fact that the play unfolds in real time all in the one location and it’s a very engaging piece of theatre.
Review Fix: What’s the relationship amongst the cast like?
Foster: Interestingly, there’s an even split of Aussies and Americans, three of each, ripe for an international rivalry. But everyone is very supportive of each other. And we’re constantly discovering fascinating little differences between Australian and American culture, particularly our differing uses of English. For instance, what you call a beer koozie, we call a stubby holder. Who knew?
Review Fix: What makes “The Club” different?
Foster: While it contains universal themes that all theatre-goers will respond to, The Club is one of Australia’s most well-known and loved works, quintessentially Australian. Where else can you hear phrases like “have a bit of a perve” and “he wasn’t worth a cracker”?
Review Fix: How do think your TV work has influenced your career?
Foster: I’d say that acting for the camera has taught me the power of subtlety. I love letting the audience figure things out on their own without telegraphing everything to them, and since the camera picks up every little facial expression, acting for film and TV allows you to do very little but still affect the audience deeply. On stage, you obviously can’t be as small or the people in the back row won’t notice what you’re doing, but even so, I think the old adage that “less is more” can still ring true in acting for the stage.
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy it the most?
Foster: Anyone who has ever spent time on a committee, or other corporate environment, will recognize the in-fighting between all the different personality types on display. Sports fans, in particular, will surely find extra entertainment value from the way in which this team balances tradition and business, but you most definitely don’t need to know anything about Australian Rules football (or any sport, for that matter) to enjoy this show.
Review Fix: How do you want this production to be remembered?
Foster: Since this is Australian Made Entertainment’s final production in New York City before we move to Los Angeles, we’d be happy to be remembered as a theatre company that brought a diverse range of Australian productions to the city. We began with Cosi, a silly farce, then presented the psychological thriller Speaking in Tongues, followed by the poignant musical Once We Lived Here, and now the satirical The Club. If we’ve managed to enlighten even a handful of Americans about the broad range of theatrical experiences on offer by Aussies, then we’ll count that as a job well done.