|Dominic Rowan, Steve Toussaint, and Nick Fletcher|
Many conversations about A Doll’s House tend to center around Nora, and rightfully so, but let us not forget the men of the play! We caught up with actors Dominic Rowan (Torvald), Steve Toussaint (Dr. Rank), and Nick Fletcher (Krogstad) to learn more about their rituals, characters, and advice they’ve ignored.
The male characters in A Doll’s House are pretty unlikeable. How do you empathize with or relate to your character?
Dominic Rowan: Unlikeable? Torvald tries his best in difficult circumstances— all the characters do.
Steve Toussaint: Well, firstly I reject the premise of the question: I don’t believe that Dr. Rank is unlikeable, (can’t speak for the other two); of course, that could just be me. He is funny, smart, and in the terrible circumstance of having found a woman who enchants and delights him and yet is married to his best mate. I think most of us can understand an unrequited love…I’ll say no more…
Nick Fletcher: I'm a father like Krogstad. I'm lucky that I've never been in circumstances as desperate as his. Like him I can nurse a sense of injustice. The redemption that he and Kristine Linde experience in Act III is always a pleasure to play; all the pain and poison I have to carry for him is conveniently drained away at the exact moment I walk off stage!
What rituals or superstitions do you have on performance days?
DR: It varies from job to job. For this, we make a pot of strong espresso.
ST: I still have to recite my whole part, all the lines, before each performance. It’s sad, I know, but there it is.
NF: Get there early, physical and vocal warm-up from about an hour before, drink a strong coffee during the half. And plenty of water.
Which artists do you admire from a field other than your own?
DR: Novelist Edward St Aubyn—terrible events recorded in elegant prose.
ST: Tough one, because there are quite a few, but the one I’ll settle on now is novelist, playwright, and essayist James Baldwin. Every sentence is constructed with the utmost care and artistry.
NF: Music: Tom Waits. Photography: Sebastao Salgado. Fiction: Patrick O'Brian
Any advice you've gotten and ignored?
DR: Save a proportion of your wages to offset tax. Probably more accurate to say forgotten.
ST: Other than the usual “be realistic” stuff dissuading me from entering this profession, I was once told to avoid Shakespeare as “he’s dead and who cares what he said?”
NF: Plenty. You've got to have the courage of your own convictions. I haven't always been right but I'm glad I ignored the advice not to become an actor.