Colin Moy returns to the dark side of human behaviour in his latest role as a cuckolded husband in the Silo Theatre production of Betrayal. "It's an amazing play that explores the theme of betrayal on so many different levels," says Moy, star of In my Father's Den. "I'm really enjoying unlocking all the complexities and working out my character.
It's really tricky because all the characters lie and you can't really take anything at face value." The play, written by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, is considered one of his most human and accessible, but is also notable for its unusual reversed chronology.
It is the story of a wife cheating on her husband with his best friend, but the story is turned on its head by starting with the devastating consequences of the betrayal and ending with the first stolen kiss. Moy plays the husband, Robert, while his wayward wife is played by Michelle Langstone and Oliver Driver is cast as his best friend and wife's lover.
Given such a stellar cast it should make for an electrifying night of theatre. Despite the play's heavy emotions, Moy says rehearsals are fun with the trio taking every opportunity to blow off steam with laughter. He is enjoying working with his co-stars and jokes that audiences will be surprised to see the vulnerable and soft side of Oliver Driver.
At 39, Moy has built up an impressive portfolio of acting, writing and directing credits. He's acted for film, television and theatre and his writing CV includes storylining and scriptwriting for Shortland Street as well as writing his own play and a couple of concepts for new TV shows. He was an Auckland Theatre Company director in training and directed the Silo Theatre production of The Mercy Seat in 2005.
He has acted in six feature films with the most recent being the James Cameron blockbuster Avatar, filmed in New Zealand last year and due out next year.
Cameron, with huge movies such as Titanic and the Alien series under his belt, has a reputation for having a huge ego but Moy was surprised to find he was a very sympathetic director. "He turned out to be a real actor's director who was very friendly but also very precise," he says. "Even though I only had a small part, playing an engineer, he asked my opinion about the character. He was a real perfectionist which I think is why he has a reputation for being tough."
Moy is probably best known for his star turn in the celebrated Brad McGann movie of Maurice Gee's novel In my Father's Den, for which he won a New Zealand Film Award for Best Supporting Actor (2005). Moy played the pious but poisonous brother Andrew who, like Robert in Betrayal, is another repressed character who struggles to keep his deep emotions in check.
Moy is friendly and easy-going with a thoughtful nature that makes him great company and an interesting interview. With sparkling blue eyes and an athletic build, it's no surprise he is often cast as police men, engineers and other strong characters.
While having made a name for himself playing conflicted and sometimes violent characters, he finds it easy to leave the heavy emotions in the rehearsal room. "You have to really because you just couldn't stay in that dark place all the time." Given he's a hands-on dad to his sons Jasper (4) and Nico (1) with partner Julie Nolan, also an actor, he has no time for dark brooding at home.
Betrayal runs from June 20-July 19 at the Herald Theatre, The Edge, Auckland.