Diego Matamoros, one of the founding members of Soulpepper Theatre, is a legend in Canadian Theatre. Having acted in over 70 productions at Soulpepper alone, not to mention the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the Stratford Festival, and most recently the Globe Theatre in London, UK, Matamoros has an illustrious career. Now he returns to Tarragon Theatre to play Bill, the CEO of a major company in Hannah Moscovitch’s new play Post Democracy. I was fortunate to get to ask Diego some questions about the play, how he prepped for his role, and his love for Toronto’s theatre community.
One of the main themes of Post Democracy is power and its effect on those to have a lot of it. How do you feel that your character, Bill, makes use or abuse of his power?
When working on a role I try to concentrate on what my character thinks and feels in his situation. I put myself in his shoes (so to speak) and start from there. What I’ve found so far is that Bill knows the Board of the company must approve any and all decisions. Bill makes recommendations but the final decision is the Board’s. The most powerful character in the play that we never meet but only hear about is the Board of the auto company.
The least powerful character that we also never meet but only hear about is the girl Lee slept with.
What was the most difficult hurdle to jump mentally or emotionally when delving into this character?
Playing a character that is dying of Cancer.
It is perhaps the most important element that is constantly present for Bill and I had to continually remind myself that everything that Bill said, did, didn’t do or didn’t say, was affected by the fact of his illness.
What message do you hope audiences will take away from this production?
I don’t know that the play is conveying any specific message. As most art seems to be metaphorical in some way or other, perhaps there are several possible messages to be had but for me the experience of spending time with these people and their world might simply create new questions for audiences rather than provide answers or convey any particular message.
Having just returned from a stint at the Globe, and having performed all over Canada throughout your career, what keep you coming back to the Toronto theatre community?
Toronto is home so Toronto is where I’ve done most of my theatre work. Twenty-five years ago I co-founded a theatre company (The Soulpepper Theatre Co.) here in Toronto and so naturally I’ve spent most of those years performing with and at Soulpepper. I am of course always excited to travel elsewhere and create work with friends and fellow artists from other cities and countries whenever I have been fortunate enough to be invited.
Post Democracy is currently in previews at Tarragon’s Mainspace with Opening Night on November 17th and running until December 4th. Keep an eye out for my review coming later this week! For more information and tickets, visit: Post-Democracy – Tarragon Theatre