10 QUESTIONS WITH CHARMAINE BINGWA

Charmaine Bingwa plays Mrs Muller in Doubt: A Parable. We fired 10 Questions at her ahead of opening night

(Image: Robert Catto)

What drew you to this play?

Doubt has always been one of my favourite plays, the writing just is exquisite. So as soon as I saw the audition notice, I made a beeline for it.

What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

What is not challenging about this role [laughs]… but she is such a beautifully, rich character to play. She is powerless, but she is strong; she isn’t educated, but she is smart; she has nothing, but she is resourceful. Part of the challenge is finding humanity in someone whose choices are widely condemned. But the real challenge is to act as a projector for her inner world – as a lot of the drama unfolds inside her. My heart breaks whenever I even think of her.

We’re told that you are a musical wiz – can you please tell us more about that aspect of yourself?

Yes, I love music! I have a Bachelor of Music and I sing, play guitar and write music. I’d had the privilege of performing with a whole host of international and local stars, like Demi Lovato, Jessica Mauboy, Fifth Harmony and others on shows like Sunrise, The Voice and X Factor.

I love how music and acting are so interrelated; phrasing, rhythm, dynamics, vocal tone - they feed off each other. And I always think about what music my character listens or what songs they emotionally feel like.

What is it about the Old Fitz that excites you to perform there?

There’s an intimacy to the space that few other venues can match. You can see the spit, feel the sweat, sight the detail and soak in all the action – it’s amazing!

What’s something people don’t know about you?

I’m a writer and I also do comedy. Little Sista, the series I recently wrote, starred and co-directed just won best screenplay in the LGBT Toronto Film Festival.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Doing absolutely nothing! When I have down time (which is getting a lot rarer), I love staying in bed all day. That and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Is there a dream role you’d love to play?

Stage, I think I’m in it right now. Followed closely by Mia in Mary Anne Butler’s “Broken”. Screen, Whitney Houston if somebody gets around to doing a solid biopic.

Do you have any advice for actors right at the beginning of their careers?

Try and stay active. I think like attracts like, so if you are sitting around waiting for work, you’ll get more of that. Work any way you can, perform shows in living rooms, make your own content. I think this business is for those with a lot of tenacity. And work hard, like stupid-hard – it’ll show up in your work.

Have you ever danced in the rain?

I like to run in the rain, but have never stopped to dance in it. But thanks for the tip!

What would you name the autobiography of your life?

All in one.