ALTER EGO Q&A – Jonathan Price/ Phillipe from Don Juan

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Deadline at the Fringe are interviewing performers across the month, putting 20 questions to them – both as an artist and as their stage or performance alter ego.

Don Juan

Actor Jonathan Price began his training with Long Cloud Theatre in Wellington, NZ. He moved on to study mask, clown and physical theatre at the John Bolton Theatre School. He is back in Edinburgh playing Philippe in Don Juan, an interactive comedy performance celebrating love and lust.

Jonathan Price

  1. First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

I’m here to perform, and see what special moments come from bringing Don Juan to a completely new audience on the other side of the world.

First impression? A question comes to mind: how is this place still standing? It’s trampled by a thousands-strong horde of tourists and artists every August. Those poor cobblestones!

In New Zealand everything is made from wood, even the churches. We expect to rebuild everything every few years.  

  1. Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

Joy! Why wouldn’t it? What haven’t I been told?

Yeah, it’s a chaotic and unpredictable time, of course, but that’s the adventure of it. I won’t see my girlfriend for a month and I know that will be hard sometimes.

  1. Are you a happy soul or do the occasionally dreich elements make you morose?

It is not the weather that makes the soul happy or sad, but the clothing one wears. I have packed a couple of merino layers. Mind you, I’m coming from Wellington, whose weather varies on a spectrum from Unpredictable to Actively Hostile.

  1. Where will you visit on your day off and why?

I hear there’s a poetry library in Edinburgh. I read a bit of poetry. In NZ, beyond the “classics” and our local poets, poetry doesn’t really exist in large concentrations.

  1. Do you ever get jealous of other performers?

Yeah, all the time. I particularly love watching international performers, as often they come from a strong performative tradition, and often the tradition is physical and stylised in a way that I don’t get to see so much in New Zealand.

I often find myself coveting that kind of a training.

  1. Did you have a happy childhood?

Yup, pretty sure.

  1. What does success and failure mean to you?

Ask me this five years from now (or five years ago, for that matter), and the answer may very well be completely different.

Something along the lines of: failure is being unchanging, becoming too fixed despite everything moving all the time. Successes are the beautiful things that happen in the vulnerable moments of changing.

  1. Are you superstitious when it comes to performing?

I’m not superstitious about much. But that isn’t to say that performing is not mysterious and strange. It is.

  1. What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

Specifically with Don Juan, we’ve had so many crazy, raucous, ridiculous, wonderful shows that I’m often afraid we’re not “on” enough or ready enough to repeat the phenomenon. But that’s a self-defeating thought, and it usually disappears as soon as I meet the first audience member.

  1.  What is your favourite saying?

One of my acting teachers said, “You have to come on not knowing.”

  1.  What is your worst habit?

Taking the morning off, and then the morning spiralling into the day, and then the week.

  1.  What do you love/hate about the festival?

I love how willing the audience is to take risks on different kinds of work, because that’s the game. Staying home to watch Netflix is just not an option.

  1.  Tell me about your most passionate embrace.

Every embrace after I return from some long tour or trip? It’s hard to pick one. You know what they feel like.

  1.  Do you wear knickers under your kilt?

I went to a Scottish Presbyterian high school and the prefects (which I was one) wore kilts every Friday. Some Fridays were freer than others, especially if the weather was good.

  1.  Most embarrassing moment?

Unanswered… Perhaps it’s too painful to relive.

  1.  Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

The port hills and beaches, just east of Christchurch City in the South Island of New Zealand.

  1.  Who would you be if you were not you?

Living or dead? David Bowie. Can I be David Bowie?

  1. What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy  and, do any of them fill you with fear?

I clearly don’t know enough about Scottish delicacies to be sufficiently afraid! I’m vegetarian though, so haggis is off the menu.

  1.  What is your greatest ambition?

Well, for a long time it’s been to help get Don Juan to Edinburgh. And I’ve just started to think about making a new show back in NZ. So, one step at a time.

  1. How can we bring world peace?

Clearly the answer is something like love, compassion and understanding. But, you know, easier said than done. We could probably start by accepting that some of our convictions might be wrong, and come to the table with that.

Phillipe

  1. First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

Oh my god! It’s so beautiful! So much history, and all the people in the cafes speak with sexy accents that make me want to cry and make passionate love at the same time.

2. Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

My heart is bursting with the joy and the dread at the same time. It is so fantastic to meet new people but always when your meet someone new they can break your heart. This is part of life. It is beautiful and hard.

3. Are you a happy soul or do the occasionally dreich elements make you morose?

My soul is like the wind, it’s impossible to know what way it will go – sometimes it is punching you in your face, sometimes it is dancing around your ankles. You just hang on and see where it will take you.

4. Where will you visit on your day off and why?

I will continue my search for my true love. Who knows where this will take me? Mexico, perhaps? Anything is possible.

5. Do you ever get jealous of other performers?

I get jealous, yes, but also I fall in love. It can be difficult for me to watch a performer sometimes, because their beautiful lie breaks my heart.

6. Did you have a happy childhood?

My childhood was difficult for me. I was raised by my mother, my grandmother and my aunts in a very small village. It was very loving, but also life can be cruel.

7. What does success and failure mean to you?

These things for me you cannot separate. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you are screaming into the night with a bottle of vodka and no clothes on, “Why have you forsaken me!”

8. Are you superstitious when it comes to performing?

You know sometimes I think that all the people I have ever betrayed or disappointed in my life are haunting me. It sounds bad, but then I think it is better to be haunted than to be alone.

9. What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

Well you know I am often afraid that I will not perform the best I can, and that my nerves will get the better of me, and the more I try to relax the more you will realise that actually I’m really worried and the more I try to pretend that everything is OK the more you will try to reassure me that everything is fine and tell me to relax but this only makes it worse.

…and any desire that I once had is lost in a fog of self-doubt, and I try to buy some time by using my hands a bit but you’re not really into it any more and then I think we need to just do something else tonight like watch a movie but it feels like giving up and this makes me a little bit angry and then you want to talk about it but it is so hard to talk about my shame.

10. What is your favourite saying?

Well you know Don Juan once said, “I am up for anything. You owe it to yourself to experiment.” And I think there is great truth in this. And then Don Juan said, “Why don’t we go behind this bush and give it a go.” It’s very good wisdom.

11. What is your worst habit?

I have a habit of suppressing my true emotions.

12. What do you love/hate about the festival?

I hate using the Google Map to find my way in the city. The overpasses look like intersections. I almost died once.

13. Tell me about your most passionate embrace.

One time during the show, a beautiful woman crawled on her knees across the stage, grasped my shoulders and kissed me on the lips.

14. Do you wear knickers under your kilt?

What is under my kilt is my business. And Julie’s. And Ginger’s and Bastien’s and Lily’s.

15. Most embarrassing moment?

Unanswered… Perhaps it’s too painful to relive.

16. Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

The arms of my lover, after a tremendous night of passionate and exhausting love.

17. Who would you be if you were not you?

But I can only be me. I must be true to myself, I cannot live a lie and pretend all the time, even though I am afraid of what people think, I have to be free.

18. What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy  and, do any of them fill you with fear?

I enjoy the whiskey. And all the sexy men and women are delicacies too, no?

19. What is your greatest ambition?

I think maybe the ambition is not so important if you think that in every moment you can laugh or cry or fall in love or have your heart broken or help someone.

20. How can we bring world peace?

Well I think everyone should realise that they are all very beautiful and sexy. For me this is very true. There is no one I would not like to get to know a little better.

Show Information

Venue: Assembly George Square Theatre

Dates: 2nd- 27th of Aug (not 13th)

Times: 13:10 (1 hr)

Tickets: 2nd, 3rd £9 | 4th,5th and Mon – Thu (not 6th&7th) £11 (£10) |  Fri, Sat, Sun £11 (£10)

Bookings: Here | 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly
Roxy, Assembly George Square, Assembly Checkpoint and Assembly Rooms

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