My Last Photo

My Last Photo – Andrew Foreman

Andy Foreman, actor and writer.

Interview by Neil Cowan

Andy’s real job is that of a touring theatrical actor and in the background he has other projects that he’s developing, some are new, some have been evolving for years.

The key question is this: What were you doing the pic?
I’m at the Queensland Children’s Hospital having finished work for the day as a Clown Doctor.

What is the background image?
I’m standing in front of the big screen in the foyer which is showing a picture from ‘Birdie and the Virus’, written by my wife Andrea Baldwin as part of her work with the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health. The Birdie’s Tree books help babies and young children, their parents and carers, cope with natural disasters and disruptive events like fire, flood, cyclones, earthquakes, heat waves and pandemics. ‘Birdie and the Virus’ helps reassure young children who come to the Queensland Children’s Hospital for COVID-19 testing.

Tell us about Clown Doctors. What’s the best and worst bit of the job?
Clown Doctors is supported by public donation and our job is to make the children and their parents feel better. We’ll use music, jokes, slapstick, silly conversations, or even bodily functions to achieve that. We work in all parts of the hospital with children from 2 to 18 years with every kind of difficulty, from boredom because they’ve been waiting for two hours, or distraction during a painful procedure, or palliative care. If nothing else, if the child has some fun in the hospital it can make things a lot easier the next time the parent has to bring them.
The best part is finding out you made a child smile who hasn’t done so for days or weeks. The worst part is that sometimes the worst can happen.

You once told me that you love being a Clown Doctor because the enthusiasm from the kids is infectious. You seem to target projects that have importance to you and are about supporting the community. You don’t just do it for yourself, and although you’re serious about the craft of acting you seem to be more interested in what you can achieve with it for others rather than what you can do for yourself – eg, your film has an eco message, even acting for ITI is about making the audience happy. Some artists do it for the ego, some for the money, some are pretentious, but you seem to attach yourselves only to projects that have deeper significance – ie, it’s about something other than yourself. Is that the case? Tell us a bit more about that.
Because I have two ongoing performance jobs I don’t really have the time or inclination to do more touring or gigs. So I’ve been developing ideas that eventually will work without me – eg, my app that will self-promote because its designed to be shared: StoryLine improv game. Or my film script that’s a mix of ET and Home Alone, called Sunny. Any project will take months or years till completion (as well as the financial risk) so they do need to be ‘worth while’, I wouldn’t want to develop an app that just wastes time or write a movie where the hero shoots dozens of ‘bad guys’. Fortunately there are enough ideas in my notepads that I have a choice. It’s also more practical to develop something positive as then others are more inclined to contribute.
My favourite small future project could be easily produced by someone with money so I can’t really tell you about that. Except that it’s a simple product for people to get more and better hugs.

List some passions…
I love to dance at nightclubs and will do that for as long as they’ll let me in the door.
I’ll do more improv onstage when an interesting format occurs to me.

Favourite quote
My favourite quote is from Carl Sagan: “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”. The cosmos created all life on this planet including us. So it also gave us our self awareness and the ability to look at ourselves. If that’s what it wants then let’s go with it. Let’s understand ourselves and others, and make the world a better place. It’s a philosophy that removes the need for all knowing, competing gods and gives us a purpose. I like to think that my job contributes to this by connecting people through play and shared experience.

Great quote by anyone else.
Einstein: “Play is the highest form of research”.

Song lyric that you like.
We are the world, we are the children.

Song lyric that doesn’t make any sense.

Book I’m reading now.
My wife’s, “Illusion of Islands”, to give feedback on it.

Favourite novel set in Gorky Park.
The Wombles go to Russia.

My worst / best gig.
Many years ago I accepted a job as a roving character at a halloween themed conference. Six of us were dressed as zombies. I figured the rest of them had the main room covered so I sat in one of the toilet cubicles and waited till guests saw me in the bathroom mirror.

Nightmare story about touring. Or best story about touring.
Worst gig was at a motorcycle bikie hut. Two of us doing 20 minutes of improv to a silent room. We didn’t know they hadn’t turned on the mic.

Best place and content for Sunday lunch, or breakfast or dinner.
Anywhere I can watch my kids play while I have a coffee and a donut.

Favourite smell, location, trampoline, socks etc – fill in as appropriate.
My babies’ heads.

Favourite line or moment in AVENGERS ENDGAME.
“You’re embarrassing me in front of the wizard”. It’s actually Infinity Wars.

Explanation of the ending of Tim Burton’s PLANET OF THE APES.
Sometimes when you think you’ve gone through space you’ve actually gone through time. And don’t try to relocate the Statue of Liberty to the beach.

If I weren’t an actor/writer and could be anything I wanted to be I would be a…

Favourite Colditz escape story.
The one where they got the Germans to miscount the prisoners when they arrived. So they never knew that some had escaped.

Favourite Napoleonic surgeon.
Dominique Jean Larrey of course, though as a teenager I did like the rumours about Florence Nightingale.

Tell us a joke.
Why did the banana go to the hospital? It wasn’t peeling well.

Two things from my bucket list.
On your bucket list is doing the drawings at the end of an episode of The Mandalorian.
Oh mine? Flying a glider. Walking around on a nude beach with no other nudists.

App I couldn’t live without.
My own (The StoryLine Improv Game). It’s my retirement plan.

Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Design by Peter Curzon

Film / book / art / song / play that changed my life or inspired me to become an actor / writer.
Spiderman comics. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Oliver the Musical: I thought “I can do that”.

Who do you know that we should interview next?
Oh we’re done? (that went downhill fast).

Storyline App

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