Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
Callum James Shewring Chapman. My friends call me ‘Cal’ though, and I’ll be playing ‘Second Soldier’. Whooo! Originally, my family’s all from up north in Lancaster and York, but I was raised in Norfolk, beautiful bit of the countryside.
What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I was playing the back end of a cow in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk, and I just thought ‘I’m bloody nailing this.’
What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
‘In a handbag!?’. That and cucumber sandwiches. Tastier than they sound.
What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
I don’t what to let loose any secrets, but I will say I can’t wait to approach the movement sections. Physical theatre’s always been a favourite of mine and from what I’ve seen of Lazarus’ work, things get pretty crazy.
Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Probably Jokanaan. The fearsome prophet, terrible to look upon. Is he a babbling lunatic touched by the moon or does he speak more sense than the lofty royals? In a society of God fearing people who place so much importance on symbols and omens, a man who may or not be the mouthpiece of the Lord gives every other character so much to think about.
Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
I caught Ned Bennet’s production of ‘An Octroon’ at the OrangeTree a while back. I was sat in the front row, like the geek I am, and within the first minute or two of the play, the lead came and sat down in the empty seat next to me. He leaned in close and began telling me, very directly and with eerie detail, how bee swarms don’t sting their victims to death, but suffocate them. I was pretty shook. It was brilliant.
Tell us the title of your favourite play.
‘Mercury Fur’ by Phillip Ridley. Not for the faint of heart but at it’s core it asks how far would you go to protect your family with the apocalypse banging on the door. Honourable mentions to ‘This Is Living’ by Liam Borrett and ‘Growth’ by Luke Norris.
Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Punchdrunk and Frantic Assembly each made a massive impression on me when I was a young drama geek in school. I love stuff that’s so mad it takes your breath away, so walking into the 3 storey set of ‘The Drowned Man’, with a different world on each floor, asking you to go explore it, game-changing. And I remember watching ‘Lovesong’ by Frantic Assembly and just being so moved. The same couple in their infancy and their old age, both sharing the stage. Then when they started doing the movement sequences together, expressing old memories and love and the fear of the future, all without words, I mean it’s stuck with me to this day. And I’ve also got a lot of love for Paines Plough, rocking out new writing and making sure everyone across the country gets to be on the forefront of contemporary theatre.
If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Come on now, you already made me pick just one play. I’m going to go with Olivia Coleman. I loved her early work like ‘Peep Show’, then she started getting looks in dramatic roles like ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Tyrannosaur’, and now she’s getting the proper recognition she deserves with incredible work like ‘The Favourite’, she’s next level. And as a weird little connection, we both went to the same school. Not at the same time, I hate to say, but we did have the same drama teacher.
Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
Oh, I plead the 5th. My mum’s gonna read this, you know. Stay in school, kids.