Maddie Campbell, one of the creators behind the visually stunning new play, THE COWARD, premiering at the 20th Anniversary Fringe Festival this year shared a few out-of-this-world thoughts on his out-of-this-world art.
We hear a lot about inspiration – or Muse – that drives an artist. What inspires you?
People. Actors specifically. Knowing who is going to play a part that I’m writing- or rewriting- is really exciting. For example, I wrote The Demon Queen Gregory for my pArtner and good friend Matt. I mess with him on some lines, I give him jokes I know he can nail and I love giving him a challenge. People are funny far more than some stupid word on a page. And I am inspired by funny people.
Tell us about your play … and why you wrote it?
I wrote this play because I didn’t know how to talk about my anxiety and depression. I’m a clown and a comedian and these are extremely dour subjects. Everyone’s face gets super serious when you talk about mental illness cause you know… Taboos. But why can’t it be funny? I think the world is funny and stupid and full of an inability to talk about things that are really not that big of a deal. I couldn’t talk about it for years and still have trouble. So I wanted to create a really fun piece about this stupid funny thing called mental illness that everyone is so scared and sad about. Because it’s just chemistry in your dumb brain.
What do you want most in your chosen profession? It’s OK to say “fame” or “wealth.”
I want to make people laugh. Cry too I suppose. But I like it when people laugh. I’ve known a lot of darkness and sadness in my old age of 25 (that’s a joke…) and the thing that I appreciate most in this world is when someone makes me laugh. Not a good answer, because I’m ambitious and fame would be fine – just don’t bother me too much. I wanna go home and watch TV, you stupid paparazzi! I’d be a really grumpy famous person.
Sally Field and Paul Newman both said of their profession… “it’s all I can do.” Is this all you can do?
I’m a smart cookie- terribly pretentious of me, I know – but I am perfectly able to work in an office, learn a trade, or climb mountains. Well maybe not mountains… I got a bad knee from ballet.. But my point is is that I can do whatever I put my mind to. But I art well. I’ve been arting since I was very young. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. ( I listened to Les Mis on tape in my room alone… I wasn’t what you would call.. A ‘cool kid’). So I’ll answer your quote with a quote: ‘it is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are. Far more than our abilities’ – Albus Dumbledore
Along those lines, if you couldn’t so this, what would you do?
Okay that’s fair. I’d play with puppies or something. I really like puppies.
I’ve learned most from this project that the world is stupid and beautiful and doing art with your friend is the best and no process should be without lots of confetti, fart jokes and blood packs.
Can I quote you on that?