Shock jock loses voice at home
"He's a right arrogant sh**," says actor Michael Eustice of his character, the lead role of a radio shock jock in David Williamson's Influence.
In its first production for 2010, the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild is staging Williamson's play about a man who wields more power over millions of Australians through the airwaves than he does over the people in his own household.
Talkback radio host Ziggi Blasco carries huge influence over politicians and punters alike. He rants about terrorist threats, attacks political correctness and extols the virtues of common sense, and his listeners love him for it.
But in private, Ziggi's influence is rapidly shrinking as his family and domestic staff find him increasingly irrelevant and repulsive. Worse still, his father is threatening to reveal a devastating secret that could end his career and tear his world apart.
Directed by award-winning local actor and director Brant Eustice, Influence stars Brant's brother Michael, who has returned to acting after an eight-year hiatus.
A 1992 Drama graduate of the University of Adelaide, Michael Eustice won a scholarship to the University of London to undertake a Masters degree in Theatre Studies majoring in Direction.
From 1995-96 he was Director-in-Residence for the Theatre Guild and during that time created a season of plays based on new Australian writing.
For the past 11 years Mr Eustice has been working in customer relations for the finance sector in London, Brisbane and Adelaide, working for such companies as Westpac, the Halifax Bank of Scotland, and now Allianz. He relocated to Adelaide at the end of last year.
"It's a really exciting opportunity," he said of his return to acting. "I've missed it. It was a difficult decision to move away from Adelaide to live in London. Once that happened I was constantly travelling because of work and lifestyle, so it wasn't possible to get involved in any productions.
"To be able to work again with my brother, Brant, is a huge joy," Mr Eustice said. "Ever since we were kids we've been involved in theatre, and we both love it very much."
Mr Eustice said his character, Ziggi Blasco, should be very familiar to audiences.
"He makes his living by upsetting and scaring people, by being controversial, and in the process of that he's made himself rich and famous.
"Ziggi absolutely believes that he is right, that Australia wants to hear what he's got to say and that he is the voice of the people.
"But when he's at home he doesn't have that power - he's just as ignorant and powerless as everyone else."
David Williamson's Influence opens on Saturday 8 May and continues from Tuesday to Saturday, 11-15 & 18-22 May at 7.30pm in the Little Theatre, The Cloisters, (off Victoria Drive), North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide.
Tickets: $25 full/$20 concession; Tuesday performances are $15 for current University of Adelaide staff and $10 for current University of Adelaide students. Tickets at concession price for groups of 10+.
Tickets available from the Theatre Guild on +61 8 8303 5999 (fee applies for credit card bookings), from BASS or online.
For full details, visit: www.adelaide.edu.au/theatreguild
Story by David Ellis