As we move closer to the world premiere season of OFF THE RECORD at Carriageworks we’d like to introduce you to all the members our fabulous cast. First up is Neil Phipps: actor, AUSLAN interpreter and lover of Ben & Jerry’s…
Q. Who is Neil Phipps?
Neil Phipps is an actor of stage and screen, Auslan interpreter, writer of odd short stories and singer in the shower. All of which he wishes he was doing more of, and perhaps, doing all the time, even. Which would mean less time for drinking gin or going on rollercoasters, but let’s face it, he ain’t no spring chicken anymore.
Q. How did you get into performing?
I got into performing by marching down to the church basement one Sunday when I was eight and demanding to be cast as a singing lamb in the Nativity musical. I then demanded to be cast as Humpty Dumpty in my primary school sketch show. I never had a conscious thought that I might like to try acting. I simply demanded things a lot. I was very persuasive.
Q. What would you do to make a difference in the world?
To make a difference in the world, I would just get everyone to, firstly, shut up, and then make them realise we are all human beings, we are all hurtling through space, and not a soul knows why. No one is better than anyone else; no one is entitled to anything. The world would be so beautiful if we could all embrace our flaws and strengths and make life lovely for those around us. If I could do a bit of that, I’d die a very happy man.
Q. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Grace Jones’ autobiography. Golly her life is fascinating, and she’s only just left Jamaica for America as a young girl. She’s delved deep into the history of Pentecostalism in Jamaica and the ferociously religious upbringing she endured with her siblings has been pretty rough. She is just starting to get a sense that there is more to life than fear and persecution, and now she’s left Jamaica, realising that she is a very eccentric and mischievous little soul indeed. It’s quite interesting viewing the world through her eyes, and how it feels for her to be aware of being different.
Q. What are you currently listening to (or watching)?
Currently loving the album ‘Atomos’ by A Winged Victory For The Sullen – gorgeous cinematic soundscapes, and my new hero is Taika Waititi: writer / director / actor of the knockout kiwi films ‘Eagle V Shark’, ‘Boy’ and ‘What We Do In The Shadows’.
Q. Happiness is?
Happiness is curling up in front of Netflix with my man. And a gin and tonic. And a bag of jalapeño flavoured cheesy puffs. And a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. And world peace.
Q. What’s your most memorable performance to date?
A few years ago I was cast in a demented little play called ‘A Couple Of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians’ at the New Theatre. It was 90 mins of pure unadulterated mayhem, with a dream cast and director. Parts like that don’t come along often, and when they do, it’s like the world stops turning out of sheer joy.