A Quick Chat with Adam Cook

Sport for Jove has been taking Sydney by storm with its almost uncanny ability to breathe new life into Shakespeare’s classics. For the first time, helmed by Adam Cook, the company is getting ready to take on another great playwright: Ibsen.

In the lead-up to opening of A Doll’s House, we spoke to Adam Cook, who is adapting and directing a new take on the classic: he will explore just how much or how little times have changed since the play first premiered in 1879.

Adam Cook
Adam Cook

Formerly the Artistic Director of the State Theatre Co of South Australia, Adam directed Much Ado About Nothing in Sport for Jove’s 2013-14 summer season.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At various times, an astronaut, a fireman, and a carpenter travelling with his pregnant wife to their hotel in Bethlehem.

Who is the most important person in the world to you?
Whoever finds a cure for cancer.

Who is your theatre hero?
At the moment, Ivo van Hove, Artistic Director of Toneelgroep, Amsterdam, whose extraordinary trilogy of Shakespeare’s Roman plays was recently seen at the 2014 Adelaide Festival. The acting was astonishing.

What is your go-to shower song?
“Bat Out of Hell” by Meatloaf.

What was your first theatre project – and how old were you?
“Little Gypsy Gay” at Avalon Primary. I would have been 6 or 7 years old, and I wore brown corduroy pants borrowed from a classmate.  I remember one line: “We’ll tell her, when the time is ripe.” [I’m not sure what we were going to tell her, and no, I didn’t play the title role.]

Windows or MAC?
I’ve only ever had Bill Gates computers but I’d love a MacBook Air. Is that what they’re called?

Favourite food?
Dessert. [To be more specific, raspberries, pears, chocolate. I’m all about fusion!]

What’s the best thing about Adelaide audiences?
Their openness to new and unusual experiences. They’ll take a punt.

What would be the first five songs you put on a ‘mix-tape’ playlist?
Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66, Running Up That Hill, by Kate Bush,  The World Seems Difficult, by Mental As Anything, I’d Rather Dance with You, by Kings of Convenience, I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down, by Paul Young.

What is the best thing about theatre in Australia?
There’s always a very vital and robust dialogue going on in this country about the possibilities of theatre. And as a community of creative artists, we’re very supportive of each other. We get the word out about each other’s shows.

What’s the worst thing about theatre in Australia?
The queues for the women’s toilets.

Name one moment when you looked around, breathed happily and felt content.
Whenever I’m in a bookshop. So that sensation you describe is something I feel on a daily basis.

Where is the most interesting place you have travelled?
Borneo. I adopted an orangutan.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ve never been able to answer this question. I don’t have a career plan, I’ve never had one. And yet I’ve never ever been out of work, so it seems to be working. To answer it in another way, I hope I won’t have to worry about money.

What’s your life motto?
“All of this will be solved with lighting.”

What’s your favourite post-show snack?
Whitman’s Toasted Coconut Slab [a more substantial treat than a Coconut Rough, which is really just a drink coaster wrapped in tinfoil].

What’s your biggest phobia?
Dying in a plane crash.

What is the worst date you’ve ever had?
Internet hookup. We both knew in the first moment there was no chemistry.

Describe your current project.
I’ve just started rehearsing A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen. It’s a really intense and suspenseful play that shocked and appalled audiences when it was first performed in 1878. We’re in the first week of rehearsals and it’s been very exciting to explore the play with a hugely talented ensemble of actors, and wonderful to be working once again for the brilliant company that is Sport for Jove. We’re performing at the Seymour Centre as part of The Reginald Season from July 17 to August 2nd.

For tickets and more information about A Doll’s House, visit: http://www.seymourcentre.com/events/event/a-dolls-house/

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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