Brisbane playwright and actor Peter Cook returned to his hometown in February 2023 with his compelling and uplifting one-man play, Breaking the Castle.
Sharing the journey of David, a struggling actor living a knife's edge existence, Peter weaves his real-life trials and tribulations into this funny and insightful performance.
We chatted with Peter to learn about who inspires him, his favourite childhood memory, and his advice for anyone wanting a career in the performing arts.
What makes you laugh?
South Park, Ricky Gervais, and Dave Chapelle all come to mind. Laughing with close friends about life’s day-to-day tribulations is a great medicine and I do it as much as I can.
Describe yourself in five words.
Passionate, loyal, determined, kind, nostalgic.
What song always gets you dancing, and why?
I can’t remember the last time I had a real dance unfortunately, but I’ll play 'Can’t Stop the Feeling' by Justin Timberlake every now and then in the morning and dance. When I was doing a remote residency teaching young people, the dance teacher choreographed a dance for them to this song, and whilst I don’t ever do that choreography it’s a great song to have a dance to by yourself in the kitchen and lift your spirits.
What’s your earliest / favourite childhood memory?
My favourite childhood memory would be playing football in the backyard with my little brother.
Who or what inspires you, and why?
People who are unashamedly themselves and live in their truth. I’m also inspired by any piece of art that moves me, a painting, a song, a piece of theatre. Comebacks inspire me too, in life in general, but especially in sport - sport is the greatest theatre there is and I think sport (in its purest from) and art can both be the highest expressions of humanity.
What can’t you leave the house without, and why?
My keys. Or I’d never get back in.
What’s the last book you read?
The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory by Corey White.
What advice do you give anyone wanting a career in performing arts?
Do it because you can’t do anything else. You have to love it. You have to be prepared to sacrifice more than most people in other careers. You have to be prepared to fail miserably. You have to want to do it because it makes your soul sing, because it’s the only place that feels like home.
In the words of Charles Bukowski:
If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.
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