As a long-time actor and performer, Glen Barton has experienced life through a multitude of lenses. Now with a prestigious new role and a recent foray into directing, the focus is squarely on him.
Glen has spent the past four years on the stage or behind the scenes with parts lining up almost back to back.
In his latest role, he’s taking the lead and exploring family protection and destruction in Jasmina Reza’s controversial play, God of Carnage.
In a similar vein as The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, God of Carnage explores the often nasty underbelly of parents’ behaviour and relationships as they seek to find an amicable resolution to one 11-year-old boy hitting the other with a stick, breaking his two front teeth.
Heading up a cast of four well-meaning but often spiteful and abusive parents, Glen takes a heart-wrenching look at how lives are stripped bare as each couple reveals their demons and truths to the other couple, and to each other.
He said playing such a multifaceted character has taken him to a new level as an actor.
“It’s taken me quite a while to trust myself to look into the emotional levels of acting and move past just trying to think of what line comes next and where I should be on the stage.
“I think that’s been the biggest development for me and it’s really important in the making of God of Carnage.
“All four of us on stage have acted and directed, and the director has acted so we have a lot of trust in each other. That frees us up to be more emotional and really capture our characters.” God of Carnage sees Glen return to Geelong Repertory Theatre after stints with Footlight Theatre Company, The Theatre of the Winged Unicorn and the Torquay Theatre Troupe including in the sell out success, Away.
He also made himself comfortable in the director’s chair for the Torquay Theatre Troupe’s production of Skull in Connemara last year and earned a Victorian Drama League Awards nomination for best director for his efforts.
“Directing was hard work and very demanding but another step forward for me,” Glen said.
“It helped me develop a stronger sense of the theatre and was fantastic to have such an immersive experience in a production.
“I now understand acting as well as other directors a lot more now.”
Glen, 40, was first introduced to the arts as a child by his drama-enthusiast mother who loved to play piano.
He started out in school plays and musicals before taking a break to explore other interests, but after about a decade out of the spotlight, Glen felt the stage beckoning once again and signed up to perform with a number of amateur companies in Melbourne.
He moved to Torquay in 2008 where he has settled with his wife and two children.
Soon after moving to the coast, Glen sought out the local theatre communities in Torquay, Geelong and Anglesea and once again began auditioning for roles. “I knew that’s exactly where I wanted to be.
“I love community and amateur theatre and it’s fantastic in Geelong and on the Surf Coast. The companies here produce some really good quality work.”
Instead of undertaking formal training, Glen draws on his life experiences to add depth and colour to his characters.
He said finding the core of each character and tapping into it to elicit a reaction from the audience is the most gratifying part of his creative process.
“It’s amazing to be able to put something together that can get an emotional response, especially when it’s tangible.
“I also love working as part of a team and being a part of the theatre community. “Theatre can be like a piece of music. When you lock into playing with the right people and everything is gelling and flowing and all the parts are working together it becomes something bigger than just you and what you’re doing as an individual.
“When it happens it can be so beautiful, like a symphony.”
God of Carnage is at the Woodbin Theatre, 15 Coronation Street, Geelong West from February 11-14 and February 18-20.
Tickets cost $30, $28 for concession, $24 for students.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit gpac.org.au or phone 5225 1200.