AussieTheatre recently announced that last years Matilda Award-winning Best Actor, Jackson McGovern is joining the cast of The Midsummer Carnival at Brisbane Powerhouse later this month.
We thought you might like to know a little more about this talented young performer.
Take us back to the beginning of your career– what first encouraged you to get into the industry?
Well I mean it’s pretty bloody fun for a start. You basically get to stuff around onstage for a living. I’m usually getting told off for stuffing around offstage, so it’s pretty great to have an excuse to do it as a job. But there’s also the fact that when you play a character you always get to jump into the psyche of another human being and explore what makes them tick. Sometimes you really like those characters, sometimes you really need to work hard to find a way to like those characters, but you always find out something new about a person that really kind of exists in your own life. Finding that kind of relatability is so rewarding, and it’s the empathy that you can develop for these characters from all walks of life that makes theatre or any storytelling so brilliant for all of us, actors or not.
What are some of your personal highlights and proudest achievements?
I’ve been so so lucky to be part of some productions of some iconic texts. Death of a Salesman, American Buffalo, This Is Our Youth and Into the Woods are three that stand out, but there’s also a real joy in bringing something to life for the first time. I love being involved in creative developments of new works, and even being a part of Reagan Kelly’s first Brisbane season last year (it had had a season at NIDA previously) as a Brisbane play with Brisbane characters and Brisbane in-jokes was something I’ll always treasure.
I also lapped up the opportunity to tour to schools playing roles like Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth with Grin and Tonic, one of the oldest theatre companies in the state and one I remember coming to my school, was also really special. I love theatre that gets young people interested in theatre, and I don’t think we do enough of it. To do something like that which could inspire even one future theatre-maker is something I do not take for granted, especially when you’re also pinching yourself getting to play some of the most well-written characters in the English language.
That all sounds corny and you probably wanted me to say an award or something, but that’s probably it.
What are you looking forward to about your new role in The Midsummer Carnival?
Demetrius is a bucket of fun. He’s a trainwreck, like we all are in our own special ways, but for me I can really relate to this lost puppy energy he has about him where he struggles to express himself emotionally even to people he loves deeply. He’s also grown up in this world where men have always taken what they want when they want it, and he’s at this tricky “am I an adult yet” sort of stage in his life where he’s really got to make some gender attitude changes if he ever wants to be truly happy. He’s not dumb, and he’s not a dick, he’s just really lost and I think represents a lot of early adult males who have grown up in male-dominated environments like Demetrius and are now trying to figure it all out. I don’t agree for one second with some commentators‘ implication that young males are the true victims of the #metoo movement, but as I said before, it is so interesting getting into that psyche and slowly unwrapping all the things that have made this guy the way that he is. We are all probably friends with a Demetrius, and that’s something I could probably say about all of the Midsummer characters. The story of all four of the lovers, in particular, is so stupidly relevant right now, which is as fascinating as it is kinda depressing.
Can you give us insight into what the audiences can expect?
Without wanting to give too much away, if you’re coming to see William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, you’re not going to get William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s an adaptation. A bloody clever adaptation. It’s immersive, so there’s that part obviously, and audiences really will feel like they’re part of the story, especially with the four lovers who I think are really well written…which is borderline annoying as an actor because there’s no bad writing to blame. So that’s a bummer, but totally not the audience’s problem.
As a Brisbane local, where are some of your favourite spots to dine, play or explore?
Tough one. I’m a sucker for a craft beer, so Green Beacon and Oxford Tap House are waterholes of choice. Brekky is my favourite meal to have out so Pawpaw Cafe and Baker’s Arms in Woolloongabba are visited a little too often, and throw in Little Clive in Annerley for good measure. And then for a good chill-out, you can’t beat the Kangaroo Point cliffs with a coffee in hand and hopefully a friend, if anyone’s offering.
How long have you lived in Brisbane for?
I grew up in Bundaberg originally and moved down to study in 2012. Have lived here ever since. It’s definitely home now.