Tony Nominee Tom Hollander Talks Leading TRAVESTIES

--Welcome back. And we are joined by Tony nominee Tom Hollander who is starring in Tom Stoppard's Travesties at the American Airlines theatre. Thank you so much for joining me sir. --Hi. Hello. -- I'm very excited to chat with you Congrats, first of all, on the Tony nomination --Thank you --How does it how does it feel to be a part of awards season? Is it everything you expected? --Well it's only just getting going, and I had no expectation of it, and I've didn't really know anything about it. So it's but discovering the excitement of it all is a wonderful thing. We is know we don't have such a thing in London theater, so it's a new ... I mean we have Olivier Awards and things but it's basically, you get nominated, you go to the ceremony. That's it --No this is a whole --This is a whole thing yeah. So the thin g is it's fun. --Are you having fun hobnobbing with your fellow nominees? --Yes well I've only hobnobbed with them once I thing but there's more hobnobbing to come --Yeah you're gonna see a lot of the same faces. Right it's been 20 years since you've been here. --That's right. --With us in the city. Are you happy to be back? -- I am course I am yeah I always wanted to come back It's been literally 20 years to the month --I know you're an avid cyclist are you taking part in our you know city bike while you're here? --I am yeah don't tell the producers --That's right be careful --I love citi bikes --Yeah exactly that wasn't possible. The subway was maybe a little bit nicer 20 years ago. I'm living in the same area which has changed out of all recognition --It's an unenviable task to be asked to describe the plot of Travesties but now I'm going to put you in that position --The simple way is that it's an old man and who says hello to the audience of the beginning of the play and says hello welcome to an evening spent with me telling you about my youth And then he gets it all wrong because he's starting to lose his mind. And right at the end, then so then because he's getting it all wrong all sorts of strange things happen to the story and it turns into a sort of farce, partly created by his inability to remember it correctly. And right at the end when all that the farce resolved itself and with a sort of comic resolution a farcical comic resolution, you then go back to the old man in his study, with his wife Cecily, who says none of that was true. You've mis-remembered all of it. And that's really the play. That's what it is. So the misremembering is why it's called Travesties because everything that is depicted in it is a betrayal of the truth Or it's a version of the truth. So that's one way of describing it. I think another way of describing it is that it's like a work of Dadaist art, and so it's just things jammed together that you wouldn't necessarily put together to create amazing beautiful patterns. Funny ridiculous, situations which are comically satisfying --Yeah and you mentioned Cecily in situations from The Importance of Being Earnest play a significant role ---The other thing is he the crucial part of his memory is that the greatest moment in his life was when he played Algernon and The Importance of Being Earnest, and the plot of The Importance of Being Earnest starts to control his memory. So he's sort of remembering The Importance of Being Earnest --There are so many references being thrown at you throughout this show and I think I caught maybe half of them, but once I stopped trying and I just like allowed myself to experience it, the enjoyment factor like just shot up for me you know --I totally think that's the best thing to do when people let it become music, then it's, then then it works in its best way. If you go this is this is it some sort of intelligence test, which I I'm gonna get an exam mark at the end of right it's not fun, But you shouldn't do that. --Did you have to read it like with Google at the side --I don't no my job is much easier than the audience's job because I just get to deliver it. I don't have to understand it. I need to say the lines loudly. --No but I mean you're required to do much more to be fit like you well Henry Carr, your character we see them 20s to 60s --Yes I get to pretend to be an old man and a young man -- But there's lots of physical comedy, there's complicated wordplay --None of which were involved referring to Google, --But did you have to prepare for this differently than you've prepared for other --Just that I had to drink less alcohol to remember the lines. -- You know you've kind of took on this role in the show as a challenge to yourself Do you feel like you've you've met the challenge? --Well so of course I feel that we've had a wonderful time. We've been well reviewed and had nominations, so on paper we absolutely have met the challenge. And we got to come to Broadway with it, which it's, you know hasn't been on Broadway since 1975. So all of those things are wonderful things. That said, the play, when you're doing a play, it's a challenge every night, and some nights you feel you've let it fall through your fingers, and other nights you feel you've you've nailed it. Neither of those things are necessarily accurate, you know, your experience as an actor doing it is not the experience that the audience are having. Many times actors think it's gone terribly and then the audience all gives them a standing ovation at the end everyone knows those things --You hadn't been on stage period for several years before you took on this role in London. How does it feel to just be back on the stage again? --Well it was great. It was great. I was I was I was very nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it anymore, and then it would be too nerve-wracking. I would be yeah just but it's been all right. And, um, I got stage fright this time. I never used to get stage fright. I got stage fright when we started this in London the first couple of performances. So that's this is apparently happens to actors as you get older, it just it gets a little bit harder and you lose the sort of mindless confidence of youth, but you you get other stuff --Yeah like Tony nominations~ --Yeah you get and you get you get yeah --How does that feel --Depth of experience. It feels wonderful. It feels like yes --What does that mean to you being recognized in that way? --Well I mean you can't take these things too seriously because you have to believe that all the work that you do that doesn't get Tony- nominated is legitimate and is as valuable. On the other hand, being nominated for a Tony is of course a wonderful, feels like a wonderful endorsement. And it makes me love New York and New Yorkers for having you know fancied me that way. It's it's great of course it is yeah. --When this all comes to an end for you what do you what will you think, how has Henry playing Henry Carr changed you what does this experience taught you about yourself like what what will you take away from this experience? --I don't know. Probably that's the sort of thing that I could answer better when it's over as in a moment it's it's I'm still doing it. I've learnt this time to love, to feel what a privilege it is to do a play of this complexity, that is endlessly interesting. It's still surprising me and presenting things to me that I hadn't seen first of all and I've done it 150 times, hundred and seventy times. It's still. So that's a privilege and when it finishes I will not live in this beautiful crazy world. I will live in a much more ordinary world of my own making until the next until the next interesting thing. --Do you think you'll miss that? -- Yeah of course I mean in a partly it'll be a relief and partly I will of course I will always miss it. In the same way that Henry Carr clearly always misses having been in The Importance of Being Earnest even though he was bitching about it while he did it and as an old man he realizes it was the greatest time he had in his life. --Well I hope it's been an equal experience like that for you. I know that I will remember this performance and show so -- thank you --Thank you so much. Congratulations --Thanks very much.