Spencer Novich, performer, Blanc de Blanc
It sort of gives you the sensation of drinking a glass of champagne over the course of an evening – it's high-class, then it becomes a little bit debaucherous ...
You should really get to know Spencer Novich. The New York-based performer is in town to play a major role in Strut & Fret’s production of Blanc de Blanc, which will see a massive 23 shows rolled out over the coming weeks as part of Bleach* Festival 2017. With that many shows lined up, you’ve got plenty of chances to get to know him – and trust us, when you go and see it, you will REALLY get to know him. Spencer is a vibrant and talented fella, and we were lucky enough to have a chat to him about champagne and (lots of) bare skin ahead of the Gold Coast’s much anticipated premiere of Blanc de Blanc.
You’re in town for Strut & Fret’s production of Blanc de Blanc. The show has most of the Gold Coast very intrigued, so tell us, what can we expect?
It’s a crazy, wild party! It starts out very corked and reserved – and the whole idea is that it goes from corked to un-corked. From polite to naughty. It sort of gives you the sensation of drinking a glass of champagne over the course of an evening – it’s high-class, then it becomes a little bit debaucherous, but it’s still very accessible to everybody. Like, what we do is so wild, but it still remains accessible and fun. You know, when you start doing the show for a while, you sort of forget how how wild and crazy the night is. Because we’ve been everywhere with it, like London and across Australia, we’ve done it so much that I think we get a little conditioned to it, so it gets really exciting for us when we bring it to a new city and we see how much the show lights up people’s faces and the energy that it brings to an audience.
Tell us a but about your role in the show?
I guess I am a little bit of the ‘chaos’. I encite a bit of the chaos. I push the show to a bit of a naughtier, playful place, which then sort of overtakes the whole show. I’m the one whispering in your ear telling you to continue to drink and continue to have fun and play.
You’re known as an ‘actor and clown’. Tell us a bit more about your style of performance?
People have a bit of trouble labelling what I do, because it’s a bit … odd. I do a lot of like weird movement stuff. Like, circus people would probably watch what I do and not call it circus, and theatre people might watch what I do and not call it theatre … what I do is sort of a blend of what I like.
We’d love to be a fly on the wall backstage. What do you get up to before going on stage? Are there any pre-show rituals?
It’s funny, the show is such a party, but behind the scenes, we’re really centering ourselves in order to party and bring the crowd to that party atmosphere. I think a lot of us try and contain our energy, because you know, it’s a lot of work to party every night in that way and bring a party to an audience. Every cast member is essentially a host of the party. We have a couple of cast rituals where we come together and breathe together to get ready for the evening, and a lot of the time we’re stretching and conditioning. It’s a full-on show, it’s very demanding and requires a lot of energy.
What would you say is the most challenging part of the show for you?
The show requires us to really make sure that we’re involving the audience. The audience has to come along for the ride. Our goal in every city is to engage with the audience as much as possible and to make sure that they’re into it, work out what they like and don’t like, and push them into the direction of what they like. We invite them to become wild and crazy. I think it’s a challenge to get a whole room of people, from very different backgrounds, to get involved on this ride. But it’s a fun challenge, and I feel like we’ve been really successful at that!
It’s such a high-energy field to work in. How do you relax and chill-out when you’re not on stage?
I spend as much time as a I can with my dog. Which is a bit challenging here obviously, because I can’t bring my dog here – I don’t want to get into any sort of Johnny Depp issue.
You’ve got 23 shows to perform in a pretty short period of time – will you get much downtime on the Gold Coast?
We’re doing eight shows a week here, and we get one day off. I’ve been down at Burleigh a lot – I spent our week off there. The more I come to Australia the more I become excited about going to the beach, which I have grown to love a little bit. For me, that’s a pretty big deal, because I am more of an indoors type of guy! So, yeah I am looking forward to spending as much time on the beach and feel the energy of the city and find out what it’s all about.