David will be playing Vincent Van Gogh at the Adelaide Bank Festival of the Arts this weekend. Anyone on that side of the world seen any press photos?
David walks on the Festival's wild side
By BEN McEACHEN
TO get into the mind of a tortured artist, lovable Australian actor David Wenham walked the streets of Adelaide during its craziest period.
"I use walking, actually, to work," said Wenham, who was seen powering down Rundle St on Wednesday night, amid Fringe fever. "I walk and I go through the script in my head and see what ideas come to me.
"Basically, I am working the whole time I am walking."
His pavement pounding in Adelaide was preparation for a hotly anticipated event at the Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts, the "premier festival in Australia" according to Wenham.
In a world-first production, composer Gustav Mahler's Song of the Warth symphony will interweave with Wenham delivering six letters written by artist Vincent Van Gogh. Directed by Adam Cook, Songs from the Yellow Bedroom will have two shows only at Adelaide Town Hall tomorrow and Sunday.
The accomplished stage, television (SeaChange) and film actor (The Lord of the Rings) said Songs from the Yellow Room would be one of his most frightening assignments.
"It's one of the more difficult things I have ever had to do," said Wenham ahead of his first rehearsal with the 95-piece orchestra and two opera singers who will perform Mahler.
"I've got nothing, no props and such ... it's just me, using Vincent's letter, having a conversation with the audience.
Originally conceived by late theatre director Richard Wherrett, Yellow Bedroom allies Van Gogh and Mahler as contemporaries. Both were unstable artists in the late 1800s, their mental states affecting their work.
"He was struck by the similarity and the use of colour between Van Gogh and Mahler," Wenham said about Wherrett. He was also struck by Wenham's similarity to the Flemish master, a comment the actor had heard before.
"People have said I would be perfect casting if they ever did another movie about Vincent," he said.
Only becoming available for Yellow Bedroom two weeks ago, Wenham thought his schedule would prevent his seeing other Festival and Fringe shows. Having most recently worked on a mini-series about the build-up to the East Timor vote of independence, and feature film 300 in Canada, Wenham was not sure which acting medium he would turn to next.
"You can try to control your career, but you just never know what is going to come up next," he said.