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MY NIGHT WITH REG Profile: Martin Happer

Next up in our My Night With Reg Company Profiles, Martin Happer. This is Martin’s second time exploring the 80s with us as part of a stellar ensemble, having appeared in our 2012 remount of The Normal Heart.

Martin Happer – Benny

What have you been up to lately?

I’ve just come off a season at the Shaw Festival and have been enjoying some down time in my hometown of Vancouver over the holiday with my wife, Élodie Gillett, and our one-year-old son. We still managed to get on a stage however, performing in a friend’s variety show he organizes every year as a gift to his mother. It’s a very special event.

Is this your first Studio 180 show?

This is my second show with Studio 180, the first being the remount of The Normal Heart. That stage experience stands as one of my most memorable and rewarding. Very few shows come along that impact an audience so directly and deeply, and I had the unique privilege of being an audience member in the final performance of the first run of the show before I knew I’d eventually be in the production myself. To then be given the chance to be in the story with that same group of actors who told it so well originally was a rare and invaluable experience. Needless to say, I am charged up to join Studio 180 on another project.

Tell us about your role in My Night With Reg.

My role in Reg is Benny. He’s a bit of a foul-mouthed, acerbic fella, but he’s very gregarious. A good old boy, or “one of the lads,” he’s the guy you want at your party. It might surprise you then that he’s in a long-term relationship, and with Bernie to boot.

What would you say is the most intriguing thing about your role in the show?

I really liked how Benny seemed very familiar to me when I first read the script. My parents are from England and they had friends like Benny coming over to the house when I was growing up. These men and women were always such a riot to observe. Their social recklessness and need to follow every impulse drew attention and made them entertaining. That, I feel, will also be the challenge of playing Benny, because I naturally tend to walk a more cautious line. But what a ball it will be to have a go at letting loose.

Why do you think audiences should check out My Night With Reg?

Check it out for the love of laughter, and the joy of recognizing the unavoidable messiness that a history of friendship and romance exhibits; all this layered with a suspense that ratchets up as you witness it with the knowledge of the tragic implications of the time.

What’s coming up for you?

I’m heading down to Niagara-on-the-Lake for another season at the Shaw Festival, and am thrilled I’ll be playing Dr. Seward in Dracula and the Prince of Wales in The Madness of George III.

Martin Happer as Bruce Niles in Studio 180’s production of THE NORMAL HEART (photo by Karri North)

David Mirvish presents a Studio 180 Theatre production of My Night With Reg
by Kevin Elyot
directed by Joel Greenberg
February 10 to 26, 2017
Panasonic Theatre • CANADIAN PREMIERE