Interview with Frank Zotter

May 03, 2012

What gets you out of bed in the morning? That’s a hard one. I’m not much of a morning person. I’d say the thought of a good Americano initially gets me up. But in the bigger sense, if my day ahead has me involved in something or with someone I love then I’m keen to start. Obviously, if I’m off to rehearse, or audition, or do a show, that will be a great motivator.
In this play you’re required to play multiple characters, and move quickly through space and time. What challenges does this present? What opportunities? Having a flexible actor brain is my best answer to that. Sure, it matters that you are present in each moment, but you also have to uber-prepared with the material so that each moment almost becomes automatic: like it would happen without thinking. Repetition helps that. Therefore, if say the next moment is a big shift, or a new character or style, it can surprise me just as much as the audience. Self-consciousness is the enemy.
In On It occasionally uses direct address. How do you feel about interacting directly with the audience? I LOVE direct audience address. Unless I happen to see someone in the audience sleeping.
What role are you dying to play? My dream role has always been Amadeus. Now I’m a bit too long in the tooth. Maybe Saliari now? No, uh, Hosanna would be awesome. King Lear someday.
What is the most challenging role you’ve tackled thus far in your career? Why? I did a one-man show by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), called Filth. It has two acts (each act lasting 45 minutes), has 26 characters (24 of which are Scottish!) and involved puppetry. It was also extremely funny, VERY DARK and deeply disturbing. Yep, that was a demon! I felt like I added years to my life AND lost calories while doing it.
What makes a role great? A great story makes a great role.
What qualities do you love to find in an actor you’re working opposite of? Just like when we were all kids in the sandbox, the best playmate plays with your toys and shares his or hers. And the sky’s the limit for how much we can imagine together. Listening, playing, laughing, humble, brave and passionate.
What’s more inspirational – suffering or joy? Hmm, difficult one that. As much as I’ve been inspired by yoga and a deeper investigation of Buddhism, I think I’ve discovered my deepest inspiration out of joy and not suffering. Perhaps it was the joy that came out of leaving suffering that then lead to inspiration?
If you didn’t have a career in theatre, what would you be doing? If I didn’t have a career in theatre, I’d love to be a cruise line ship Captain.
3 things you love to do that have nothing to do with theatre? I’ve become a yoga fanatic! I also just got a kayak. Nothing compares to paddling on the water and being that connected to nature. I also like to expand my newly found taste for good red wines… Shiraz…. maybe the wine has a bit to do with theatre.
Last book you read? “Light on Life” (The yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace and Ultimate Freedom) by B.K.S. Iyengar. I’m now reading “For the Love of Mother” by a fellow I know in Vancouver, Michael Scott Curnes.
Last song you grooved to? “We Found Love” (extended mix) by Rihanna. Yeah, I know…15-year-old girl music….
Play that made the biggest impact on your life? When I saw Doubt on Broadway, I was in a trance afterward. The writing, the acting and the production, everything was so memorable! And powerful. Then a half hour later and blocks away from the theatre, I saw a guy across the street looking just as dazed, who was holding the Doubt Playbill. He saw my program as well and our look of understanding was so bonding. We then spent hours talking about the experience. Because we HAD to. Oh, and it was as a result of watching Godspell in Guelph when I was twelve that I wanted to become an actor.