"It was a lot easier to do when I was 33, I'll tell you that," says the actor Eric Peterson, 70, speaking about taking another spin in Billy Bishop Goes to War, the two-man stage play he created with co-star/composer John MacLachlan Gray. "I do feel the physicality of it, and the memory equipment is a little rusty too." The beloved tale about the First World War flying ace is getting a remount at Soulpepper this month. When he's not in the cockpit, here's what else is blowing Peterson's hair back:
What he's tuned into: "I'm a big, big fan of The Debaters and Because News on CBC Radio. I've been on both of them, and I try to catch them every Saturday. They're wonderful radio to me. I like the wit of them, and the satirical news angle of Because News. I debated Sean Cullen on The Debaters, on whether William Shatner was the greatest actor the world had ever seen. I was against that. Sean does such a funny William Shatner imitation. I thought he was better at Shatner than Shatner is himself."
What he's watching: "Fargo, on Netflix. It's based on the movie by the Coen brothers, whom I'm a big fan of. There are philosophical and ethical elements within their entertaining and often violent films. But the Fargo series is wonderful, and it's shot in Alberta. They use that landscape for Minnesota. It's very clever and very provocative. Like The Wire, they're using series television in a very innovative way. It really becomes a bona fide art form in itself."
What he's looking forward to: "I'm going to be shameless here. I'm looking forward to seeing Vimy here at Soulpepper, and VideoCabaret's Confederation – Part I: Confederation & Riel and Confederation – Part II: Scandal & Rebellion at Souleppper. I haven't seen VideoCabaret for a long time. Given the 150th anniversary of Canada, I think it's wonderful that this theatre has three Canadian shows, including Billy Bishop Goes to War. It's a nice touch."
Billy Bishop Goes to War runs July 10 to Aug. 5 (currently in previews). $32 to $89. Young Centre, 50 Tank House Lane, 416-866-8666 or soulpepper.ca.