Brief encounter with... Sam Devereaux
Date: 5 May 2012
So, what's different about your play, Good Time Charlie's got the Blues?
For starters it’s my first one-man-show. I also wrote the piece which makes performing it a very personal and intense journey. That’s not say it isn’t fun! The play tackles head on the conflict between a famous person’s celebrity and their humanity. It explores whether a person's true self can ever co-exist with the demands of stardom. The play looks to serve as an allegory of much of the destructive celebrity excess that we now accept as commonplace in our lives. I’m not a worldwide celebrity like the character in the play but, as an actor, it’s fascinating to explore what it would be like to be that famous.
Give us a flavour of one of your rehearsals.
A rehearsal would most likely involve me and my director, Ewa Kolodziejska playing around with the material as much as possible, looking for clearer and more truthful ways to communicate. We use status and improvisation games to try and focus the play's message. Everything we do in the rehearsal room is designed to strip away any extraneous or pretentious theatricality in order to create as open and appealing a world for the audience as possible. We want the audience to get the point of the play by getting pleasurably lost in the world of the piece.
What's the history of the show?
I have wanted to write and perform a play about fame, stardom and its effects since I was at drama school ten years ago. I have always been fascinated by Elvis' story in particular. What really focused my work though was the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. I felt so strongly about the contradiction between the shy, beautiful artist that was Michael deep down and the disfigured monster he had become in the media that it ignited my desire to write Good Time Charlie's got the Blues.
Why a solo show?
Well on a personal level I have been fascinated by the challenge of a solo show for a long time. The intense intimacy of it seems to create a connection between an audience and the actor in a way no other kind of theatre does. The solo show format is integral to the play though and was inspired by a desire to isolate the character and show his loneliness very starkly. He's surrounded by people but he is so very alone. We debuted at Brighton Fringe last year and can't wait to have another crack at it in 2012.
What is your favourite show, and why?
My favourite show ever was a one-man version of A Christmas Carol performed by Patrick Stewart at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2005. He presented the entire novel with no costume changes, a chair and a table for a set and minimal lighting. Despite, or perhaps because of, the basic production, Stewart's performance was absolutely electric. The way he guided the audience through the story got us to see Dickensian London, and its vivid characters, through sheer creative will and imagination. It is easily the most riveting thing I have ever seen in the theatre.
Good Time Charlie’s got the Blues appears at The Jive Monkey, 5 Steine Street on 8 - 11 May at 8.00pm
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