Getting to Know Jonathan Gould

Published: August 2nd 2010
in Culture » Stage

Jonathan Gould
Pic: courtesy
L-R Patrick Galligan, Jonathan Gould and Krista Colosimo in The Doctor's Dilemma
Pic: Emily Cooper

Jonathan Gould says it’s one thing to read a book and another to watch actors interpret those roles live. “That’s the beauty of theatre,” he says. “You have these characters there to give you the story and you can then form your own opinions.”


In his second season at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Gould gets the chance to do that twice over: he’s starring in Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma as Louis Dubedat, an unscrupulous but talented young artist who’s vying for a lifesaving cure, and co-starring as Montford in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, a satire about government scandal.


Shalom Life spoke with the Ottawa-born actor – who has also performed in New York and Washington, and voices a lead role on the television series Scaredy Squirrel – about coming back to Shaw, playwriting greats and his old days at the Ottawa JCC.


What brings him you back to the Shaw Festival this summer?


I’m doing two shows, An Ideal Husband and The Doctor’s Dilemma. Particularly in Doctor’s Dilemma there’s a role – I’m playing Louis Dubedat, and I read it and found it to be incredibly intriguing and very relevant, especially for this time. [Shaw  Festival artistic director Jackie Maxwell] asked me to come in and read for the part and I was happy to do so, so I auditioned and found out about this lovely role I was offered, and decided it would be a great thing to do for a season at Shaw, to be wrapped up and challenged with this role.


What appeals to you about your roles in The Doctor’s Dilemma and An Ideal Husband?


It’s a pretty broad question because there’s so much here, but particularly with Doctor’s Dilemma, it’s about a young artist, some people will call him a scoundrel – I’m sure he doesn’t think that – and his outlook on life is sort of one versus the rest of the place. I really loved his worldview and the fact that he’s a visual artist, a very successful one, which is nothing I really knew about. But because I had the opportunity to work on this character and have a process and rehearse, it gave me an outlet to learn about art and the visual world and how rich and old it is. With An Ideal Husband I play a pretty minor role, so it wasn’t my main focus.


Would you say both are comedies?


I guess….You know, comedy and tragedy are very broad terms, so for one thing to be a comedy or tragedy…you can say a lot of Oscar Wilde is a comedy, but with Doctor’s Dilemma there’s more grey area. Within it you’ll find elements of comedy, maybe more so than tragedy, so I guess it would be called a comedy, but it’s very grey and that’s what I love about it. That’s what’s so fun in playing it. There are these moments where it’s hard to know what to feel, which is great. I’m still exploring my way around this piece.


What do you like about both Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde as playwrights?


Related articles: (stage, jonathan gould, shaw festival, the doctors dilemma, an ideal husband)
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