Rachel Gordon is about to star in Nick Enright’s 1989 rom-com Daylight Saving for Darlinghurst Theatre Company. She talks about the play and the many diverse credits in her bio.
Logie Award nominee Rachel Gordon has some pretty interesting things in her bio besides her many acting credits.
In 2007, she was personally trained by Al Gore and The Australian Conservation Foundation as a presenter for The Climate Change Project.
The following year she spent a month walking the Great Wall of China with various celebrities to raise money for Olivia Newton-John’s Cancer and Wellness Centre.
“Joan Rivers was on it. She turned up and said, ‘When you said the Great Wall I thought you said the Great Mall. What am I doing here?’ She was on the Great Wall of China walking along in her high heels. She was hilarious.
“I’m very lucky to have had a lot of incredible experiences like that,” says Gordon.
And don’t be surprised if Gordon one day adds “politician” to her c.v.
Her great grandfather was Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, while his wife, Dame Enid Lyons, was the first woman in the Australian parliament.
“That’s really cool for a feminist, isn’t it?” says Gordon.
“They died before I was born but I’d like to get into politics and I know my brother is very keen as well so it might be in the blood.
“I have a lot of things I would like to change. I really love that Ghandi quote: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ There’s no point sitting back and pointing the finger at politicians. I should probably get up and do something, so who knows?”
For the time being, however, Gordon continues to be in demand as an actor.
She is about to star in a production of Nick Enright’s 1989 hit rom-com Daylight Saving directed by Adam Cook for Darlinghurst Theatre Company with a cast including Helen Dallimore, Belinda Giblin and Ian Stenlake.
“Ian Stenlake and I actually went to NIDA together and lived together for a while – not as a couple but in a share house with lots of other students. We’ve never worked together professionally so that’s really nice,” she says.
Gordon is best known for her television work in shows such as The Moodys, Blue Heelers and Home and Away. She has just finished filming a new Channel Seven series called The Killing Field with Rebecca Gibney and Peter O’Brien in which she plays Gibney’s character’s sister.
She has also done plenty of theatre over the years.
“When I first came out of NIDA that’s all I did,” she says. “It took a long time to get much TV work and then that was what I did for a period of time. But over the last couple of years I’ve been doing quite a lot of theatre again and I absolutely adore it. There’s nothing like having an audience in the room with you.”
Enright (The Boy From Oz, Cloudstreet, Lorenzo’s Oil) wrote Daylight Saving for his close friend, actor Sandy Gore. At the time, he was dispirited by his lack of playwriting success and he considered the play a last ditch effort. Fortunately it proved to be a hit, leading to a stellar career. Sadly, he died in 2003 from melanoma, aged 52.
“It’s such an honour to play this role especially because Nick Enright was so dearly loved by pretty much everybody in the theatre community that met him,” says Gordon.
“But I was terrified when I actually got the role because Sandy is such a dear friend and I so want to do the play and her justice. So I called her and told her and she’s been very supportive.”
Gordon plays a successful Sydney restaurateur who contemplates having a fling with an old flame (Stenlake) while her husband is overseas on one of his many business trips. But their candle-lit dinner is constantly interrupted.
“There’s this beautiful feeling in the play, which I think Nick fostered in a lot of his work of really seizing the moment – as he did in his own life. He filled it with so much and affected so many people on so many levels through his generosity of spirit, his largesse, his intellect and his humour. He gave us these wonderful plays and he taught thousands of students.
“There is a real sense of urgency in the play. Felicity, my character, has one night to perhaps live out her dream of being with this ex-flame. We all have these moments in our lives where you think ‘what would have happened if I had taken a different turn?’
“It’s a very charming romantic comedy and I think it will make people laugh and feel happy and hold their dear ones close,” says Gordon.
Gordon’s own dear ones include her two children with actor Jon Sivewright, who she met on Home and Away.
“I’ve got a three-year old and a ten-month old. He’s with the babies at the moment being a very good father,” she says. “They probably feel like they’re on holiday getting everything they want!”
Daylight Saving runs at the Eternity Playhouse until November 30. Bookings: darlinghursttheatre.com or 8356 9987
A version of this story ran in the Sunday Telegraph on October 26