10 questions: Danny Waugh

Danny Waugh in The Master and Margarita.

1) What the fuck is going on?
You can swear on this thing? Alright then you sons of bitches . . . not much, hanging out, auditioning. I just did a 5am gig on Til Death Do Us Part with some wickedly trained dogs and a fake human skull. I’m also going over the finally finished DVD rough cut of an indie film I did four scant years ago . . . yep that’s right. Four years ago. ROUGH cut.

2) Do you make any distinctions between “performance” and “acting”?
Sure. I’ve seen great “performances” that weren’t necessarily well “acted”. By that I mean that the work was very well crafted: precise, specific and well delivered, but a little hollow. Not as moving or inspiring as it could have been because it didn’t have much emotional connection or commitment. On the other hand, there are also performances that are kinda like the emotional equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting.

3) How do you remember an entire play’s worth of lines?
Well, that’s what you are paid (fingers crossed) to do. However, by the time the play is ready to be performed, it’s no longer memorized “lines” it’s actually more like memorized “moments”: dialogue combined with physical action, intention, reaction, lighting, sound, emotion, audience, blah, blah. Some of my best moments have come when I don’t what I’m supposed to say and simply react. Some of my worst? When I don’t know what I’m supposed to say and don’t react. As Renton said: “It’s a fookin’ tight rope, Spud.”

4) Do you do your own stunts?
I’ve been known to swing a sword or two.

5) If independent theatre in Toronto had a lot more money, would it be a lot better?
Not necessarily, but it sure would be nice to find out. Really though, I don’t think that cash alone would be enough. Raw cash (without any planning or direction) tends to either get wasted or thrown at things that mostly enhance production values (lights, sound, cushy seats, etc.). For me it all starts with the idea, the story and script. A great story or script will attract great directors, actors, producers, etc. Which will then get you the nice lighting, good sound and cushy seats (with bums in them).

Simon Rice & Danny Waugh
6) Why is music so loud at bars and clubs?

People hook up easier and buy more booze when they can’t communicate or as Kings of Convenience put it: “I’d rather dance with you than talk with you.”

7) How do you feel about the cult of celebrity as it pertains to actors?
I’ll tell you right after I’ve finished watching eTalk Daily.

8) How does the search for a “Canadian Identity” play out in Toronto’s independent theatre scene?
In the red corner with an unblemished record . . . The Shaw Festival. In the blue corner, with a Black dude from small town BC playing a 1930s-era Russian cult favourite . . . the challenger Praxis Theatre. And now, ladies and gentleman . . . Let’s get ready to rumba!

9) What’s the line between comedy and tragedy?
I don’t think there is a line. And if there is, it’s not so much a line as . . . a smudge. The best theatre for me has both comedy and drama smudged together so I can’t tell where one finishes and the other starts. When working on a dramatic piece, I personally try to inject as much humour (yes, spelled with a “u” despite what the American spell checker tells me) as I can. Both comedy and drama are necessary. If I watch theatre sports or SNL or something of that ilk, as funny as it can be, I get immediately bored if the joke sucks because there is nothing holding my interest except the laughs.

10) What are you working on these days?
My tan. Coming along nicely, thank you.