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Faustus Interviews: Janet McTeer, Evil Angel & Tanya Moodie, Good Angel

Updated Monday, 10th September 2007

The two angels talk about their different roles in Dr Faustus.

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Janet McTeer
I’m playing the evil angel. I suppose there’s two things really, one is that you’re part of a double act in the way that you’d normally get a comedy act so you’re working off the other actor. Whatever it is that they’re doing, you’re trying to do something opposite so you’re working on that, so in a sense you’re all one person. And the other thing I suppose in terms of trying to make it real is that you’re basically playing an obsessive, somebody who’s just absolutely obsessed with getting another person to do what I believe, and I have to fight that person to get this person to do what I want, not what she wants. So whatever manipulative tactics she uses I’m going to use the opposite, or I’m going to use whatever I think is his weakness at any given moment to get him to do what I want. I’m just playing an obsessive. What do you think?

Tanya Moodie
Yeah, I think in a very painterly way I think I kind of start layering. I think if I’m given a character to play that’s very abstract, like a good angel or a duchess with no other particular character hints, I start off with the verse and the rhythm, and if I read it to myself and hug the rhythm of the verse I get an idea of who I am, what my intention is. And then I’m playing the good angel, for example, so immediately I think as a painter if I was to think about good I would want to put light colours in or very light things.

But then there’s something about as an actor I always think that well, if I’m going for the lighter vocal quality to play good, for me it’s almost a little bit too obvious, there’s something in me that always wants to play against that. But then sometimes it’s better to go with the obvious. When I first met Janet and I heard our voices together, we have very similar vocal qualities normally, we both have quite deep, smoky voices in a way, so then as Janet said it’s then I start to think well what’s my intention, what am I trying to do, what am I trying to get this person to feel. That accompanied with the rhythm of the iambic, then something comes out on its own accord and then I sort of just go with that.





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