Tell us about your new play?
It’s an artfully embellished one-man show called ‘Early Grave, Fashionably Late’: a detective/adventure story set in the late 19th century, told by a stylish, daring, and very often, blundering explorer. It’s really an homage to the époque, a mix between a Sherlock Holmes story, a Jules Verne adventure and an Oscar Wilde comedy.
What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
With this show, the acrobatic verbosity of the text is a massive challenge, but as I get my lips around the music of it, also a thrilling pleasure. And even grinding away at it in rehearsals on my own, I’m a sucker for the gags, be it witty wordplay, ridiculous slapstick, or arcane 19th century references. I’ve got to get out of the habit of laughing at my own jokes before an audience turns up…
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
The story of how this show came about is a bit of a strange one: three years ago, I was supposed to be doing a completely different one-man show, which had been invited back after a successful run the previous year. At the last minute, for reasons still unclear to me, the producer pulled the plug on it, and I suppose to channel the frustration I was feeling, I poured my energy into furiously writing something new instead. It was another two years before I ended up first performing it, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015, but there’s a particular satisfaction in knowing that something I’m now so proud of, and love performing so much, came out of the defiance to not to succumb to despair at what was a very low moment.
What, or who, inspires you?
All the friends of mine all over the world who are on the road, in the studio, scribbling in a café, trying to find the right chord, at a computer, hustling, trying to get their work out there, making something out of nothing: they make the world a cooler place to be. My girlfriend, Hanna, is an incredible artist who inspires me every day to aim higher. My little brother, Danny, is a fantastic musician who’s forging his own path with clever, purposeful, and incredibly catchy songs with his band, Shrug Life (https://shruglifemusic.bandcamp.com/) – so he really keeps me on my toes in the competition for family bragging rights.
Which work do you wish you wrote?
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde: beautiful, sumptuous and sinful.
How would you describe your writing in food form and why?
An Irish Coffee: caffeine, cream, sugar and whiskey. Add a cigarette and you have a perfectly balanced meal. Then again, the cocktail that The Butterfly Club have created for this show isn’t too bad either.
What’s next for you?
After this run in Melbourne, ‘Early Grave, Fashionably Late’ will head to Canberra for one night, at Smith’s Alternative on December 20th (smithsalternative.com). Then, I’ll be straight into work on a solo performance of ‘Paradise Lost’, which fuses one of the great texts of English literature with Butoh, a bizarre and wonderful form of contemporary Japanese dance. I’ll be developing that at Belconnen Arts Centre in Canberra, then touring it to the Fringe World Festival in Perth and the Adelaide Fringe in January/February. After all that, I’m sure I’ll be sick of spending so much time by myself, and will definitely need to get into a studio with some other people to make something new.
What’s your scene?
Dressing up to the nines, rambling around cities, drinking far too much coffee and scrawling away in a notebook, surrounded by the buzz of life being lived well. Melbourne is proving pretty good for that – I’ll have to find an excuse to come back soon.
Christopher Samuel Carroll is an Irish actor, writer and theatre-maker, currently based in Canberra. He is a graduate of the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, and Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Paris. As an actor, he has worked with companies all over Ireland, and as artistic director of Bare Witness Theatre Company, has developed work in ensembles and as a solo performer, with an emphasis on work that is dynamic and boldly theatrical.
What’s My Scene has partnered with the Butterfly Club to present you with a new cocktail each week, based on shows from their 2016-2017 Summer program. Check out the Early Late, Fashionably Drunk cocktail here.