Fun times to be had embodying antagonist

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They say in show business you should never work with children or animals, but Elizabeth Flatt is enjoying doing both.

The Gore resident will take on the role of Miss Hannigan, the mean head of the orphanage in the West Otago Theatrical Society’s production of Annie next month.

“It’s a lot of fun to be honest, because the kids have been so great to work with,” Flatt said.

She worked as a vet and animals were familiar territory.

Her own pet was one of two dogs who would appear in the show.

“He’s pretty well behaved.

“[The other] is very well behaved and very placid; he’s … an old farm dog, a spaniel of sorts.”

Originally from Georgia in the United States, Flatt had grown up taking part in theatre.

She had only recently joined the theatrical society after moving to Gore last year, and found it open and welcoming.

She would play her character with an authentic US accent, albeit from the Deep South rather than New York city where the show was set.

“I was a little worried they wouldn’t like having an American accent amongst all the Kiwi accents, but they’ve embraced it, which is awesome.”

Playing a villain was good fun.

“Essentially my character is a drunk hussy. The fact that I’m still single just baffles me.

“I drink to escape that and drink to escape the kids.

“Maybe one day way, way back in the past I actually liked them but now I can’t be bothered by them.”

However Annie was set during the Great Depression, so resigning was not an option for Miss Hannigan.

“If I don’t have this job I don’t eat.”

Flatt was preparing for her role by watching old productions of the show and taking inspiration from actresses Marcia Lewis, Carol Burnett and Kathy Bates.

She also wrote daily journal entries in character.

“I hope I can make the audience hate me; that would be a good thing.”

The show will be staged at Tapanui’s West Otago Community Centre from June 18-26.

Rehearsals are well under way, taking place three times a week.

“We’re working on our dance numbers and making sure we’re singing correctly; all that fun, nitty-gritty stuff.”