Hit Productions is currently producing an East Coast tour of David Williamson’s 2011 play When Dad Married Fury. TheatrePeople got a chance to talk to actor Annie Last about her experiences of the production and her expectations of the tour.
For Last, playing the title role of Fury in a new tour of When Dad Married Fury provides a raft of exciting challenges. She’s expected to be one of the most hated character in the play; In a story about a elderly Aussie billionaire, Alan, who marries Fury, a young American evangelical Christian, Tea Party supporter, and business woman, Fury is, to begin with, the ‘villain’ of the piece. Fury is hated by Alan’s family who all assume that she is just after her husband’s money, and the character’s strong American-Christian morals and opinions clash heavily with the Australian sensibilities of the other characters and potentially with the majority of the Audience.
To prepare for the role, Last spent a lot of time on YouTube becoming familiar with the ways of Evangelical Christians and Tea Party political figures (Sarah Palin’s name came up a few times), as well as understanding the mindset of the May-December relationship that often seems to surround wealthy older men. Australian audiences would be familiar with Brynne Edelsten, the American woman who, in her late-twenties, married then 67-year-old Australian medical entrepreneur, Geoffrey Edelsten, and Last is aware that her character comes to an Australian audience framed by pre-conceived disparaging notions.
Despite this, Last is looking forward to challenging audience expectations, as the status of Fury changes throughout the play, and the characters strong personal values carry her through the conflict of Alan’s 75th birthday surrounded by hateful children all concerned with access to the old man’s money (perhaps Williamson’s nod to the media mess that is Gina Reinhart’s dysfunctional family).
Ultimately, in true Williamson style, all of the characters have traits that audiences will love and hate, and the character of Fury at first has to navigate the web of tense emotions presented by Alan’s kids, then confront the uncertainty in her own marriage as she discovers that her Billionaire husband has been less than honest with her about his beliefs, his past actions, and his fidelity.
As a relative newcomer to the world of professional theatre, Last is excited to be working alongside John Wood, who plays the role of Aussie Billionaire Alan, and has enjoyed the experience of working closely alongside an actor of Wood’s considerable experience.
Last has also found working with director Denis Moore to be a valuable experience. Having been an actor himself, Moore has a style as a director that Last finds incredibly respectful and sympathetic to the needs of actors in rehearsal.
Overall, Last feels that the production offers a lot for Australian audiences to relate to and is excited to see the reactions of audiences as the play tours the east coast over coming weeks.
Full details of the tour can be found here.