Discovering Jack

Actor and singer Todd Emerson (Daffodils, Westside) returns to Loft from July 24 - August 8 with a new show from the creative team behind the sell-out hit Daffodils

In between rehearsals down in Q's Vault for The Deliberate Disappearance of My Friend, Jack Hartnett, Todd told us about the journey of discovering Jack...

When writer Rochelle Bright first pitched the idea of ‘The Deliberate Dissapearance of my friend, Jack Hartnett’ to me I lept on the idea. I’d never performed a solo work before and hadn’t given much thought to it. But having just come off the back of ‘Daffodils’ using the form of telling a story set to song – not in a traditional musical theatre sense – I felt I understood what was needed and how we would go about creating that work.

It’s a funny thing when as an actor, a writer writes a solo piece specifically for you. It’s hugely flattering that this wonderfully talented person thinks you are capable of carrying their work all on your own. Then you have that moment the first time you read the script where you go – woah, she thinks I can do this? This is how she sees me as a performer?

It’s exciting and scary and it’s been a real mind shift for me to go ‘OK, someone thinks I am capable of this, so I can do it!’ On top of that you’ve got Abraham Kunin writing these beautiful songs for me to sing so confidence levels are high!

The script developed a lot from that point, and the team shifted as the script did. It was a real milestone moment when Conrad Newport came on board as Director. I’d known Conrad for years but we’d never worked together and I knew how important it was going to be getting the right person for the job. We had to really ‘get’ each other and feel confident in what the other person was doing.

So far so good!

In this production I play two (main) characters. The titular ‘Jack Hartnett’ and also ‘Oliver Hamilton’. These are two men who are polar opposites to each other, although they are both desperate for the same thing: human connection.

Finding each of these men – their bodies, their voices, their rhythms – has been the greatest challenge, and one that I’m attacking head on!

We’re in our third week of rehearsals as I write this, the script is in my hand less and less, and the band have started joining us in the afternoon to incorporate the underscoring and songs. A whole new dimention to the piece is emerging and it’s really exciting. Not to mention how much I love singing with a band, finding out what new sounds I can make with my voice on each song – I realised while rehearsing ‘Daffodils’ that I’d really missed my calling and all I wanted to do was be the front man for a rock’n roll band!

We’re really lucky to have a good long rehearsal period for this show, so everything will change between now and when you come to see a performance but I’m confident that ultimately ‘The Deliberate Dissapearance of my Friend, Jack Hartnett’ will be a mind thrilling, heart piercingly, aurally pleasing piece of theatre that will fit perfectly within the Bullet Heart Club canon of works to come!

See you there x

Todd.

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