Martin Angerbauer on ‘Ophelia’ & The Intensity of A Writer’s Muse

Austrian actor Martin Angerbauer is a farmer’s boy turned Austrian-London actor. His ginger hair is of the many great attributes about him. He opens up about his role in the recent film Ophelia. This film is a female driven view of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. As acting deals with high expression in one’s personality, Angerbauer thinks back to when he began acting as a child.

MA: It is 6 pm where you are in Washington, DC?

ATM: Yes, and it is 11pm where you are?

MA: Yes, in London. 

ATM: I am different. Walk with me in my imagination. Close your eyes. Take my hand, my fellow. We are sitting at Box Park in London. The sky is very blue as you can see. The breeze feels great right?

MA: Yes, it does. 

ATM: Describe Ophelia’s demeanor while she is in the presence of Hamlet. 

MA: It is the young love that is spreading out. She does not want to give up or want to explore. It is the intense relationship of wanting this true love.

ATM: Do you believe true love exist?

MA: Yes, with a little bit of hesitation. In different stages.

ATM: From when Shakespeare is writing, do you believe true love can change based on the time period as a non changeable aspect?

MA: It is a non changeable thing because love is always there. This is the reason why the plays are still working. We know how it is with a girl. We live it in a different way. The initial feeling of love is the same.

ATM: How does Ophelia view true love?

MA:  Respecting who she is and being respected by this person. 

ATM: How does your character Guildenstern view true love?

MA: He thinks it is foolish and child play. He does not take it seriously. He did not experience it.

ATM: Look up at the trees to the left.

MA: Gabrielle, they are beautiful. 

ATM: Personally, what is your definition of true love?

MA: It is being one’s self without changing the other person. Being loved for what you are, what you do, and for what you say. You do not want to change who you are.

ATM: How does true love feel?

MA: It feels so relaxing. You do not have to fight for anything. You just are. All boundaries are gone. 

ATM: More so it feels like home.

MA: Yes.

ATM: It is like you and your partner conjure up another world. The universe makes it so you two are the only people living on earth. Nothing matters or exist. 

MA: Gabrielle, exactly. It is like two people come together as one even though they are themselves. They have different thoughts and opinions.

ATM: And they can sense your emotion before it comes into your body system. True love is accidental. They can sense the emotions of your words when writing. They make you want to devote your life to express your love to them. It is like you realize it is your God given right to do so. You feel complete when you do. It is like they sit at a table and let you. They can make you feel like you are talking to yourself to the point you have to re-ask if they are there.

They try to finish your sentence and come out correct. They make you feel invincible or like a highness of some sort. They haunt you in some way. It is like they are you, but at a higher level. Oh, and the telepathic communication is there. The emotions and love are in another realm. 

MA: Gabrielle, you are right. They understand you to the point of not trying to change a person’s wants or needs.

ATM: Yes, the person loves them. They love them despite their flaws and strengths. The universe puts a division line between them and the rest of the world.

MA: Yes, this is the highest realm of love. Over time, these changes are in terms of how we could live it. This could be because of religious beliefs or morals.

ATM: Describe your character’s outlook on Hamlet.

MA: We kind of play a game. He is not a friend and is a friend. It is like a kid who is not ready yet. He is almost childish in terms of age. My character likes him. It is like kid’s play.

ATM: Let’s stand in the middle of the park. 

MA: These are the choices: you have to the left a bar with drinks, coffee, and good food. To the right are trees and plants. Behind us is the city’s center and skyscrapers. Which direction would you like to go?

ATM: Let’s turn around facing the city’s skyscrapers.

MA: Okay, let’s go.

ATM: Explain the relationship between Ophelia and her father.

MA: It is a very complicated relationship. It was not there anymore. She missed him. It is a sweet love relationship. It is like leaving a child alone. She feels like there is no connection because he was not there. It is so wrong.

ATM: I would imagine Box Park has a pathway with trees dangling down. Look over there.

MA: Yes, it actually does. The breeze calmed down a little on this pathway. The smell is a great smell of donuts and fruits and hibiscus tea. There is a sweet mix with an urban life breeze.

ATM: Yes, I smell it.

MA: It is quite strong.

ATM: In what ways is this story different from being less about Hamlet?

MA: It is female driven and empowerment for females. It is a big aspect of her point of view compared to the male-driven view.

ATM: Is acting a need or want for you?

MA: It is a need of expression. I feel more comfortable saying things when in a character. I get to jump into so many different personalities. There are so many possibilities that cannot be done with other jobs and work.

ATM: How has acting made you more expressive within the less five years?

MA: It made me more confident. I was born in a village as a farmer’s boy. It was different. It made me much more confident to say what I needed and wanted. This is the biggest change.

ATM: Why did growing up as a farmer’s boy make you less confident? 

MA: You do not have to fight for many things as a farmer’s boy. As a farmer’s boy, you are alone with the few other girls and boys. There is nothing else. I do not know it even existed. When in a big city it is different. 

ATM: We should walk over more on the path leading to the streets. Do you want a bite to eat?

MA: Okay, yes, but I want to show you the lily’s over to the right. 

ATM: Does this female-driven version have any effect on your character?

MA: Yes, it does. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are friends to Hamlet. We are sort of smaller in this version than in the original Hamlet. We are concentrated on Ophelia’s girlfriends and friends. It is hard to say. It did not change so much. 

ATM: So, his representation stays the same?

MA: We are much closer to Claudius. We are his right hand for everything he says. We try to grab on the men and not to get taken over by the women. There is a fear of losing control. So, actually, it does change. It is about fear. You are actually right. This is an interesting question.

ATM: Do you want to turn right, left, or straight?

MA: Hmm, let’s go left again.

ATM: What do you believe was Shakespeare’s inspiration for writing women?

MA: His girlfriend and the women in his life. Like a lover.

ATM: Do you believe his girlfriends were his muse for writing?

MA: Yes.

ATM: A writer, painter, or a person of any art must have a muse. You cannot write to write. It cannot be strictly from childhood. It is the writer’s muse that makes the writer. A writer cannot write without their muse. It is like writing or painting becomes a foreign language. It is the power of the muse. It is the ego of the writer or painter who thinks not of the muse or does not realize it is the muse’s power that controls their fingers and their mind. It is like an absurd, rude, dangerous, filthy, and sweet possession. There is no difference between a writer and a painter. Again, a writer cannot without their muse. There is no age requirement for a writer’s muse.

MA: It is like evoking the emotions in the presence. You are right. The lover and writer can be quite intense. There are things happening.

ATM: To the point you are sitting your muse on the wooden carved kitchen table. Behind the kitchen table are glasses shelves with 56 Rieslings from July 22, 1962. In less than four weeks you put the finish touches of 57th glass. It looks like a young Riesling but tastes rich and sweet like hibiscus. You are writing to them and painting to them. This is how it is in a writer’s or painter’s mind. But to the public the muse becomes invisible.

MA: Interesting.

ATM: No one of the era of the writer is supposed to figure out the writer’s muse. Because of the muse’s high status, the era must know or a verdict must not get reached in this era. It shall not. They cannot. The friends and family of the muse will know. The muse will be so strucken with the intensity of their power. The next era will know. This era will never know of it, but the next era will take quizzes and write term papers on it. See, Martin as a writer you are writing for the next era. As a painter or artist of any sort, you are working for the next era. Think about it. No one knew Susan was Emily’s muse. No one knew Josephine Baker was Frieda Kahlo’s muse of some sort during their era. This is the risk you take as an artist. A writer can only one muse and a muse can only have one writer.

MA: Gabrielle, you are right. This is very interesting. Also, you cannot talk about these things during the time. I am Austrian. There was an Austrian painter named Gustav Klimt. All painters have a muse. They need a muse to work with. A muse is a lover. He had a lover which was his muse. At the time we did not know, but now we know so much about these painters and writers and their muses. The next era will be able to see much clearer and the meaning during this time. 

ATM: We are headed to Bethan Green Road.

MA: That’s outside of the park.

ATM: Give a metaphor for your profession as an actor.

MA: It is like being a kid again. It reminds me often when playing as a kid. You do not know what is good or bad. You mentioned as a writer you do not have inhibitions of being judged. As a kid, you do not know anything about crying. You are just in the moment. 

ATM: Honestly, I look at myself as a painter. I am an artist. My questions become the paint. The person that I am interviewing becomes the canvas. I need all three to perfect the painting which is the interview. The parts of speeches become pastel or acrylic colors. The laughs, whimpers, and yells become the medium for the artwork that I am drawing.

MA: Gabrielle, this was very beautifully said. I have never heard of this. This is a nice metaphor. 

ATM: This conversation that we are having at the park can be considered jazz if we talk with a tenor saxophone. If we keep talking about muses, then it becomes blues. Now, Martin, if we start shouting this, becomes an opera piece of music. Do not get me started when if I was to hit the treble clef. Take the instrumental away it becomes an interview or a painting in my words. 

MA: Exactly.

ATM: How long have you been acting?

MA: I always wanted to become an actor since seven. I saw Jurassic Park and wanted to be this. I wanted to touch the dinosaur. I realized later then becoming an actor was the way. I was in school plays. I had to wait until 18 to go to my studies. It has been a while. I realize they created a feeling for me that was so real. Oh my god, this is all real. I want to create these things for people watching. I want to believe something that is not there. 

ATM: You can step your right foot out and then your left foot out of my imagination. Oh, and open your eyes.

MA: Ok.

ATM: What time is it there in London?

MA: 2:30 am Friday. Gabrielle, what about for you?

ATM: It is 9:31 pm Thursday. Do you see stars outside?

MA: Let me see. Actually no there is too much light. 

ATM: Do you see a moon?

MA: No, I cannot see it. I have lights in front of me because of the street.

ATM: If I see a moon in my country and you see a moon in your country, does this mean there is more than one moon?

MA: No. There is just one moon.

ATM: So, how is it that we would see the same moon?

MA: It would not be possible if behind Asia and you are America. 

ATM: So, Asia never saw a moon before?

MA: How did you do this interview?

ATM: I ad-libed it.

MA: They have. We are quite closer, so we have a sight of one moon. You would look toward the West and I would look toward the East. We meet in the middle. I am looking from one side and you are from the other side.

Gabrielle, it was lovely talking to you and thanks a lot for these interesting questions. I am excited to follow your paintings (interviews). You interview different in a very interesting way. I am not sure if anyone has your mind. This feels like a new form of journalism. So much imagery. It does feel like a painting.

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