Gavin Rutherford – Misery and More

Gavin has performed in over 50 Circa shows and is the “Dame” in the successful Circa pantomimes. He most recently played the role of Paul Sheldon in Misery at The Court Theatre

Three more to go! Gives us a short summary on how’d you introduce yourself as an actor or human being.

My name is Gavin Rutherford, I’m an actor and I do some directing and voice work to try and make a living in the performing arts. I grew up north of Auckland in Whangaparaoa and trained at Unitec, then moved down to Wellington and that’s where most of my opportunities have come from. I work at the Circa Theatre in Wellington mostly. I’m part of the Circa council as treasurer and I get lots of acting opportunities there. It’s great to be in Christchurch performing in Misery.

Misery has many incarnations. First as a book, then a movie, and then a play. I was wondering if that made it difficult to know where to start with research at all?

Although the book and the play have a similar arc and trajectory, they do start and finish in different places. When you approach a play or a film script, you just gotta play what’s on the page. A couple things can inform it but you gotta be in the world that the writer has created and not another world which you have made separately.

You’ve had experience at creating your own work. What’s it like going from say directing a show or being a casting advisor to being an actor. Do you find you have to put a different thinking cap on or has the whole process become intertwined.

That’s exactly what has happened actually. I just directed a play called Problems by a New Zealand writer called Joe Musaphia at Circa last month. A very dark, witty sort of Orwellian play. Switching between thinking caps is an interesting game. I think that a good director should know a lot about his or her process. You learn as an actor what you like and don’t like from a director. And I was very lucky at Circa dto work with people who were good friends so we sort of had a type of lingo which we could understand each other well.

The most important thing is to make offers. That’s what I like to do in a rehearsal room. When the director will say “that’s great, but let’s try it this way” rather than saying “what the fuck was that? Don’t do that again.” It makes a huge difference because it’s acting is a confidence game and if the director of all people knocks you down, sometimes it can affect your approach.

A dream role or two?

Well my favourite play of all time is a play called “A View from the Bridge” which is an Arthur Miller script and I had the opportunity to play the lead role in that at Circa a couple of years ago.

I’d love to play George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I think that play is such a dark look at relationships and a mature look at how people grow in a love/hate sort of way.

“Waiting for Godot” Which I’m a bit young for but I think that would be great fun anyway.

Any last words of advice? Shout outs to current artists  or hopes and plans for the future?

Wellington is a very vibrant place and companies like BATS are always providing new and interesting work. At Circa currently we have a women’s theatre festival on. Along with a lot of fantastic work being done by indigenous theatre groups. Shout out to current NASDA student Celia, she’s become a friend and a great audience member in Wellington too.

Thank you very much

Cheers mate

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