“Why I would win the Dogfight”

Doorstep Arts’ Victorian premiere of Dogfight was in full production mode this week ahead of tonight’s official opening performance. Apart from the lessons I’ve learnt working on such a complex piece under the direction of a fantastic creative team, this rehearsal process has continued to teach me many lessons:

The marines during the sitzprobe
The marines during the sitzprobe
  1. The rehearsal room in the ‘real world’ hardly seems far removed from my time at drama school. It’s all about creative offers and a sense of collaboration to explore and detail every moment of the piece.
  2. Speaking of drama school, I’ve realised that I may have placed too much importance on the development of my singing technique over my spoken voice technique. All of this marine shouting and bravado has forced me to quickly identify that using support in your dialogue is just as crucial to not making your vocal chords bleed.
  3. I don’t look nearly tough enough to rock a shaved head outside of the rehearsal room.
  4. I don’t think I even look tough enough in the rehearsal room.
  5. In scenes of heightened emotion, make sure you keep your wits about you. Spoiler alert: There’s a scene in which I undo my fly as I attempt to rape someone. One particular rehearsal, I was wearing pants that didn’t have a fly. With adrenaline surging through me, I stuck my hand down my pants and cupped my man-bits. Except instead of grabbing them over my underwear, my hand accidentally slipped underneath my underwear, and I pulled my balls out of my pants, putting them on display for everyone watching.
  6. Every piece of movement/dance has to be justified as your character and through an acting perspective
  7. (Warning: SYA-I’m-about-to-take-myself-too-seriously spiel ahead) Working with such a phenomenal group of actors really just reinforces the fact that acting is reacting, and if the people you’re working opposite give you such great offers, your job becomes pretty bloody easy.

While the show really explores themes of compassion, connection and humanity against the backdrop of a 1963 America on the verge of the Vietnam War, the basic premise of the show centres around a real military tradition. In order to strip themselves of any human compassion on their last night in America before deployment, the marines would each put in a sum of money for a party, and whoever was able to bring the ugliest date would win the pot; the Dogfight. So this week, I’m sharing my coffee with the rest of the cast, as I ask them the question:

‘Why would you win the Dogfight?’

Some of the cast and creatives after one of our full runs
Some of the cast and creatives after one of our full runs

 Daniel Cosgrove – Stephens
“Because I have a face like a dropped meat pie”

Jaclyn DeVincentis – Marcy
“Two words – side profile.”

Olivia Charalambous – Rose
“I’m legally two inches off being a dwarf, and that scares people apparently”

James Coley – Fector
“You can’t tell where my eyebrows end and the hair on my head starts”

Alex Woodward – Eddie
“Because when I was in Grade 5 I went to the school fete and thought it’d be fun to go on the jumping castle. Because jumping castles are fun, right? Yeah they are. But then someone double bounces you as you’re doing a front flip, so instead of flipping, your nose ends up going directly into your knee and you end up having a nose at a right angle to your face. So I had to have it straightened twice and it’s still bent.

So that’s why I would win the Dogfight. Plus copious other things I’m not going to point out to the readers of aussietheatre…”

Hannah McInerney – Chippy
“My Jewish nose and my cackle laugh”

Sally Bourne – Mama
“After 38 years in Musical Theatre in Australia and London, my dog doesn’t need to fight anymore. Those years of belting have taken their toll. I’m a definite winner!”

Zoy Frangos – Boland
“It’s 1963. I’m a Greek with Aboriginal heritage.”

 Jack Van Staveren – Gibbs
“Excuse me? Umm, rude.”

 Tim Carney – Lounge Singer
“For being a short little red head kid with subby fingers and hair everywhere”

Daniel Cosgrove
“Cause Mumma didn’t raise no loser.”

To come and see this self-deprecating but incredibly talented group of people in the flesh, book your tickets to Dogfight now.


Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran VIC
Dates: Thursday 5 May – Sunday 15 May
Time: 8pm Tue-Sat, 5pm Sun
Tickets: $44.90 – $49.90 plus credit card fees
Bookings: chapeloffchapel.com.au


Joel Granger

Born in the land of sheep and hobbits, Joel Granger moved to Australia to study at WAAPA's Music Theatre course, class of 2015. Currently playing the role of Elder McKinley in the Australian tour of 'The Book of Mormon' tour, his other stage and screen credits include 'She Loves Me', 'Brigadoon', 'Sweeney Todd', 'Please Like Me' and 'True Story with Hamish & Andy.' He would like to say he enjoys long walks on the beach, but his ginger hair and freckled skin means he actually avoids sunshine as much as possible. Follow Joel on instagram at: @joelgranger_

Joel Granger

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