Idea of retirement is 'rubbish': John Howard

'Absolute rubbish': Veteran actor scoffs at retirement

JOHN Howard, one of Australia's most recognisable actors, is keeping his career at a high with a new movie now in production giving him time to return to the stage for a very modern play.

At 65 the silver logie award winning actor has been in our lounge rooms and our theatres for 40 years. Think Seachange, All Saints, The Club, The Crucible, A Country Practice and Mad Max: Fury Road just as a start - his passionate performances, commanding statue and cheeky spirit bringing delight to Australian audiences.

John currently leads a small cast of characters in Sorting Out Rachel which paints a confronting, and for some people, accurate picture of a three-generational tussle over money and lives.

Is the sold-out audience's laughter one of embarrassment or sheer enjoyment of David Williamson's fast-paced and latest play? Mother-daughter arguments, early inheritance demands, ignoring the needs of a child, accepting responsibility for our indigenous heritage, social enterprise and a whole lot more pours out from the play and into the consciousness of a both the young and the older audience members.

"His (David's) ability has always been to observe we Australians extremely accurately and to be able to write it very succinctly so we recognise our little hypocrisies as soon as we hear them," John told Seniors News.

"The conversations in this play are extremely familiar. I live with two teenagers; the door slamming is very familiar. They have a sense of entitlement.

"I think he has nailed it. You can tell from the audience's response."

While the play has a Sydney-centric focus, the issues it tackles and the humour that arises are transferrable to most big cities and towns.

The addition of an unscripted Sydney cockroach scurrying across the stage, to delight of myself and others in the audience, was a perfect touch and handled magnificently by John. "I wasn't going to compete with a cockroach," John chuckled.

While John jokes that at 65 his next gig will be applying for the pension and joining Martin Place's tent city he is excited by his latest movie, called The Merger, which was shot in and around Wagga Wagga, and is due to be released in July or August.

"Being an actor and being in the business of telling stories about Australians is my favourite thing to do," John said. "It's never ending because we don't suddenly stop one day. It's eternally interesting to me so that is what I am constantly trying to do.

"There is no retirement for people like me."

What will he do in his old age? "I will still do what I am doing now, until I fall over, literally," John said. "I have no intention of stopping doing what I am doing if I am able to and people are interested enough to see what I am up to."

Sorting Out Rachel is on at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney until March 17, before it makes its Queensland debut at The J Theatre Noosa on March 21 to 23 for four performances.  

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