In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the cast of How the Other Half Lives at The British Players, meet John Allnutt.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
I was seen last year as Jerry Spector in Honeymoon Hotel, a double bill of Woody Allen one acts under the title Woody Allen Woody Allen at Montgomery Playhouse; and as Roger in British Players’ Bedside Manners. In 2013, I was George Pigden in the Arlington Players’ Out of Order; followed by a production of Grease, in which I played Danny Zuko at Leisure World’s Fun and Fancy Theatre group. For Bedside Manners and Woody Allen Woody Allen, I colored his hair. For Grease, ironically, I did not.
Why did you want to be part of the British Players’ production of How the Other Half Loves?
I’ve been familiar with the show since the 1980s; had worked with BP perhaps a half dozen times before, including a show directed by Pauline Griller-Mitchell.
What did you perform at your audition and where were you when you got the call that you had the role?
Cold readings from the script. But I had auditioned for another show the night before. Casting confirmation from the two shows took place while I was at home.
Who do you play in the show, and how do you relate to your character?
Bob Phillips. I related to his consoling of his wife when she is emotionally distressed. But that instance is rare in this play. I do not relate to his infidelity. Hear that, Honey?
What advice and suggestions did Director Pauline Griller-Mitchell give you that helped you prepare for your role? Have you worked with Pauline before? And how would you describe her style of directing?
I have known Pauline for a very long time but have only worked with her within the past 5 years: she directed me in another Ayckbourn play, Round and Round the Garden (of the Norman Conquests trilogy) in 2011. She juggles many projects but enjoys the process of each show and allows for input from the actors
Have you appeared in or seen other productions of How the Other Half Loves before, and if so, who did you play and how is this production different and unique
I auditioned for How the Other Half Loves in the 1980s. I rather overinvested in one role and did not get cast (but saw the show and enjoyed it). As fate would have it, I am in that preferred role in this production. I’m drawn to the physicality and wisecracks in the role.
What is your favorite scene in the show that you are not in, and what is your favorite scene that you are in?
I enjoy the submissiveness of the very proper William to boss Frank. I love all my scenes with wife Teresa, particularly the physical ones. But I don’t want to give the visual jokes away to those who’ve never seen the play before.
Which character in the show is most like you and why?
That’s a hard one. I can be as proper as William, but on occasion, as outrageous as Bob.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
They all know how to make rehearsals fun. But I’ve only been in production performance mode with two of the four cast members before.
How did you prepare for your role, and what were the biggest challenges you faced; and how did you resolve them?
Challenges: One fight scene is still being worked out. I won’t really know how well it resolves itself until I make it into tech week and production performance mode.
Probably could have handled the physicality of Bob Phillips’ role in 1985 better than 2015. It’s all fun, nevertheless.
Why should audience goers bring their families to see How the Other Half Loves?
Adultery is not really family fare, but it’s spoken of in the past tense in this play and most PG audiences know what it is and how often it’s used in plays.
There is miniscule “offensive” language in this, I’d say. It would pass for P.
How the Other Lives plays through March 13-28, 2015 at The British Players performing at Kensington Town Hall – 3710 Mitchell Street, in Kensington, MD. For tickets call (240) 447-9863, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of ‘How the Other Half Loves’ at The British Players: Part 1: Susan R. Paisner.
Meet the Cast of ‘How the Other Half Loves’ at The British Players: Part 2: Karen Romero.
Meet the Cast of ‘How the Other Half Loves’ at The British Players: Part 3: Peter Harrold.