Melbourne Theatre Company is ready to launch 2017 with a classic Broadway play that still packs some very relevant punch. Born Yesterday, by Garson Kanin, is about political corruption, wealth, opportunity and education. It oozes with the style of the 1940’s and has enough humour to keep you laughing long after the curtain.
Award winning actor, Russell Dykstra, takes on the role of Harry Brock – the abrasive, self centred junk-yard tycoon looking to make his mark in Washington. Brock wants to get legislation changed to make business easier for himself. “He’s corrupt, and will go to great lengths to get what he wants,” says Dykstra about his character. “He came from humble beginnings, but has in large part derived his wealth from the suffering of others. He is a brash, bold, vulgar bully. I hope I don’t share too many similar characteristics. Maybe I’m delusional and have been type cast! He is also an intriguing and complex man. I’m enjoying getting under his skin.”
Dykstra was drawn to the play for what it says to an audience in 2017. “I was itching for a big theatrical challenge, and the character is certainly proving to be just that,” he says. “I spend most of the time on stage, so that comes with certain focus and energy requirements. The role has high vocal demands as well, so that’s a great challenge too. It’s going to be a very fulfilling role to perform.”
In what can sometimes be a fickle industry, Dykstra has managed to remain a working actor for many years, having first appeared on stage at the age of 10 in a production of Toad of Toad hall. Perhaps best know for his work in ABC’s Rake, Dykstra works over all mediums and credits diversity as his golden ticket to longevity in the industry.” I’m lucky that I get work in film, television, theatre, and musical theatre. This widens my work prospects, but also keeps things fresh for me,” he says. On the comparison between stage and screen, Dykstra loves them both but does acknowledge that the special exchange that occurs in the theatre between actor and audience, is very hard to beat.
Born Yesterday combines great writing and great characters with wit, atmosphere, empowerment and politics.
Dykstra says: “This is a classic from the 40’s however it is still so incredibly relevant, especially where things are right now in American politics. There are very interesting contemporary interplays at hand. Our director Dean Bryant is incredibly astute and is delivering what I believe will be a very lively and engaging piece of theatre. We are striving to create very real, detailed, and rich characters, which I believe will take the play to a very rewarding place for both cast and audience.”
January 14 – February 25