Jun 07, 2012|
HK Magazine: Could you tell us a little bit about your role as Miss Hannigan in Annie?
Su Pollard: Miss Hannigan is thought of as being horrible, but I always say that she’s not—she’s just frustrated because she never gets any male company. All she sees is a man who comes to change the sheets once a month. And she’s taken to drink, you see, she hides Jack Daniels bottles all over the orphanage. You can see why Miss Hannigan takes to drink, because [the orphans] keep dangling dead mice in front of her—they’re awful to her! She’s just fed up, she’s been with the kids all her life and she’s never seen anything else. It’s a really fun role to play.
HK: And young local actresses will be playing the orphans in this show, right?
SP: The orphans are a very integral part of the story, and they have to be good vocally [and] great dancers, because they sing that great song “Hard Knock Life”—that’s a classic song, that is! And it’s quite hard, quite physical. They have to use scrubbing brushes and all these props. You have to have stamina. Without a doubt, children anywhere in the world would be excited to be on a big, big mega stage—especially like this, with 1,200 people. And if we’ve got the talent here—which I’m sure we have—they’re going to have a fantastic time. I just feel sorry for the boys because they don’t have boy orphans in this show, only girls.
HK: What’s the dynamic within the cast like for a stage show as big as this, with 50 people?
SP: We have a good attitude in our company because we have good discipline. Everyone is as important as each other. You’ve got to have teamwork so everybody’s encouraged to give the best they can, and no one’s left out.
That’s a nice feeling, and hopefully it comes across to the audience.
HK: What impact do you think “Annie” has today?
SP: I always say that art is imitating life. The sub-plot [of “Annie”] was all about the Wall Street crash and the [Great] Depression. Of course, now there’s been an economic crisis around the world, and it just shows you that it’s still relevant today. The great thing about Annie is that it makes people laugh, it makes them cry and that song about tomorrow gives them a bit of hope.
HK: Are there any significant differences between stage shows and sitcoms?
SP: You strive, in sitcom, for just one take. Because the audience, if they’ve laughed at [the scene] the first time around, and for some reason something happens and [you have to re-take it], you never get that same laugh again. The luxury, when you’re doing a stage show, is the audience is there with you—they’re listening to what you’re saying and they’re coming on a journey with you. So there’s the two of you and you need each other—audience and artist. And you can’t stop unless there’s a terrible technical hitch. But, invariably, in a stage show you just go straight through from beginning to end seamlessly. And, also, don’t forget, you’ve got room to go like this [spreads arms out wide]. On TV, unless you’ve got a big wide shot, you’ve only got a small amount of space in which to work, and you can lean out of the shot, and that’s bad. I don’t think you can beat [stage shows], to be honest. I like the immediacy of it.
HK: Do you have any words of advice for aspiring actors or actresses?
SP: Don’t even think about doing it unless you’re passionate about it. Be prepared for hard work and disappointments, because you’re not going to get every job you go for. [Don’t be] just a one-hit wonder who wins a singing competition, like “X Factor.” That does not cut it! But strive through and keep going, and eventually, with determination and talent, you’ll get there.
Book tickets for “Annie,” showing through June 24.