Sex With Strangers: Tottie Goldsmith

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Sex With Strangers: Tottie Goldsmith

There comes a time in all our lives when we have to make a change. We’re faced with a fork in the road, two drastically different paths. For Tottie Goldsmith that moment came when her daughter left home.
“Four years ago my daughter turned 18 and left home, not that they ever really leave, and I lay in bed that night and thought about what I really wanted to be,” Tottie says.
“I’m not proud to say, but I often took work just to look after my child and keep a roof over our head. A lot of the choices I made career wise were based around being able to provide, and so I really wanted to step it up as an actor and take on some great roles in theatre.”
Tottie soon pursued the skills needed to achieve her dreams. She started attending classes at 16th Street to learn about script analysis, character voice and as Tottie says, “just really upskilling so I can trust myself on the stage and honour the craft”.
Her thirst for knowledge and improving her abilities are what lead her to the role of Olivia in Sex With Strangers. A role she gained after attending a master class with Samuel Johnson held by Larry Moss.
“With any job you sometimes go, ‘This is huge, and can I actually cut it?’ I remind myself it wouldn’t be in front of me if I couldn’t do it,” she says.
With the amazing opportunity also came a new role for Tottie, one that she may resonate with at heart but that hasn’t been recognised in her from onlookers.
“It’s probably something to do with my features but on TV I often get cast as the ‘Older Woman’ or the ‘Sexy Mum’. I’ve been cast as the professor and I’m so relieved,” Tottie says.
“Someone has seen whatever my big cheeks and my big eyes are, and they’ve seen past that stuff and into my ability and not your boring obvious clichéd characters.”
Much like Tottie, Olivia is a woman with determination. After a relatively unsuccessful first novel, Olivia has visited a rural writers’ retreat to begin her second novel and what she hopes will be her comeback.
Olivia soon finds herself trapped in the retreat with successful Gen-Y blogger Ethan (played by Samuel Jonhson) who is seeking literary legitimacy. Olivia succumbs to his charm and so a love story for the 21st Century begins.
Written by award-winning American playwright Laura Eason and directed by the talented Lucy Freeman, the tale is something everyone can relate to and that Tottie couldn’t be more thrilled at telling.
“I’m really honoured and every time I read the script I’m still honoured that it’s in my hands,” she says.
“I just want to honour Laura and honour women, because it is a woman who is in her late 40s. She’s lost her courage somewhere along the line as a writer because of a set of circumstances and then she comes back and fights back for it and what she believes in.
“She is a bit of a feminist, an academic and she’s a great chick. She does some things that you question, but that’s great because if people – especially in script – are perfect, they’re dull.”
Tottie understands all too well about not having a perfect life. After growing up as the daughter of Melbourne nightclub king Brian Goldsmith and the chaotic childhood that followed, Tottie threw herself into her career. While playing Janet in the Rocky Horror Picture Show she was diagnosed with glandular fever and giardia, which then triggered a bout of chronic fatigue.
“I was ringing the [chronic fatigue] call centres when I was really freaked out and they would tell me, ‘Oh I’ve had this for 17 years’ and they were making me more depressed,” she says.
“So I stopped calling them and took it upon myself to start visualising how I wanted to be: to be happy, robust, have friends around me and dreams about what I wanted, and I healed my body. I know I did.”
Sitting with Tottie at a café in St Kilda, it’s clear to anyone around her that she’s perfectly happy with where she is. Upon asking if she’s all in the clear and happy with where she is, Tottie responds with a smile.
“I feel really solid and safe. I think all of us have to get over stuff in our lives – all of us. You’re not granted peace; you have to earn peace and peace of mind,” she says.
“You’ve got to work with your body: the mind and the body are a team. And I tell my body to heal. I refuse to get sick again, I will not get sick. I refuse to be a victim so I look after myself. It’s that old saying of the oxygen mask, where if you look after yourself first you can take care of the rest of the world.”
While Sex With Strangers mightn’t be taking on the world, it’s certain to thrill Australian crowds. With her zest for life, healthy routine and equally apt mindset, Tottie is just the woman to make it happen.
“I’m really excited and I feel like this is going to be a real game changer for me,” she says.
When & Where: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat – June 17-19, Wyndham Cultural Centre, Werribee – June 20, Phee Broadway Theatre, Castlemaine – June 23, Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool – June 25, Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, Hamilton – June 26, Portland Arts Centre, Portland – June 27 & Shirley Burke Theatre, Parkdale – August 3
Written by Amanda Sherring