Dr Duncan Driver
Along with Jarrad West and Chris Zuber, Dr Duncan Driver is an artistic director of Canberra's acclaimed Everyman Theatre. He directed the company's inaugural production of Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (2008) and its subsequent productions of In Cold Light (2009), Richard III (2010), The Ides of March (2011), God (2012) and The Burning (2014), many of which contributed to Everyman's numerous Critics' Circle and CAT Awards. For Everyman, he has acted in Latin! or Tobacco and Boys (2009), Richard III (2010), The Laramie Project (2010), Breaker Morant (2012), The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) (2013) and Home at the End (2013). Other recent acting credits include 'First Voice' in Under Milk Wood (Canberra Rep, 2013), 'Demetrius' in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Centrepiece, 2013) and 'Reverend Hale' in The Crucible (Canberra Rep, 2015). Duncan has twice won the Canberra Area Theatre Award for best actor in a leading role in a play (in 2007, for the role of 'Richard Sherman' in The Seven Year Itchand in 2009, for the role of 'Dominic' in Latin! or Tobacco and Boys). He carries a PhD in Literature, Screen and Theatre Studies from ANU and worked as a lecturer and course convener in the University's English department. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Canberra and its Program Director for Secondary Education.
There’s a bit of a cliche in Shakespeare Studies that you don’t read Shakespeare, Shakespeare reads you. In other words, whatever you think ‘Hamlet’ is about is more a reflection of your concerns and personality than Shakespeare’s - the plays are mirrors that you stare into to see yourself. With that in mind, Shakespeare is everything to me; it’s a lens through which I regard and seek to understand the world and my place in it.
ON SHAKESPEARE BY THE LAKES
There are a few things that should be fundamental human rights: health care, information, education - I’d add Shakespeare to that list. It’s not just the texts themselves that people should be able to read, but they should have access to performances of the plays without forking over $50 or more for a ticket.
ON YOUR CHARACTER: Orsino
Orsino is essentially a very changeable, mercurial character - he can profess his great love for something and in the next second reject it entirely. If he has a saving grace it’s that he is, at times, aware of this about himself. He thinks that he wants Olivia, but what he really wants is to be absorbed, overwhelmed or consumed by something. He’s a classic Petrarchan ‘lover’ in that sense.
My favourite moments are often lines that I love or lines that I’ve grown to love in this production because they stand out in a way I’ve not noticed before. Viola saying, ‘I’m very sensitive’ is one such moment; Sir Andrew claiming, ‘That that I DID, I was set on to do’t by Sir Toby!’
ON TWELFTH NIGHT
So much! It shows us the ways that our identities are constructed and performed, however much we may like to think of ourselves as organic, stable and ‘real’ things. It also shows us the ways that ‘pleasure will be paid, one time or another’. I take Feste’s line to mean that our fun must either be earned or it exists at someone else’s expense. That can be OK when someone deserves to be the butt of a joke, but there’s a line between mirth and cruelty that some of the pay’s characters cross, and the play asks us to consider where that line is drawn.
ON THE DIRECTOR
I’ve never worked with Chris before but I’ve relishing the opportunity - he’s putting me through my paces, but I appreciate a director who makes me work hard. I’ve learned more about the performance of Shakespeare from Chris than anyone.