Hello, old chap. Let’s have a bit of chit chat about this here show you’re directing for the spiffing Sydney Fringe Festival this week.
Alright, fictional character from that show, let’s.
Jolly good. Firstly, tell me what it is.
You should know, you’re in it. Seriously though, it’s an adaptation of Alfred Htichcock’s seminal 1935 spy thriller with four actors playing all the parts, one of which is you, our dashing hero, who has a mysterious German woman die in his apartment and becomes wanted for murder and has to try to figure out an international spy ring. It’s complicated, and there are at least 20 ridiculous hats.
Sounds smashing. Am I good in it?
You’re actually pretty useless, but luckily for you the actor is rather good.
Yes. Well, enough about me. What about you? How are those pre-show nerves?
I'm going through the usual process: wildly oscillating between joyous hope and anxious terror. But I'm just the director. Unlike my talented and good-looking cast, I don't have to be onstage playing at least seven thousand different characters whilst smoking a pipe.
I’m sure having a pipe soothes the nerves. What about the rehearsals? Any comical or heartwarming anecdotes from the engine room of creativity?
There's a plethora of minor, one-shot characters in the show, and the highlight for me has been turning our favourites among these insignificant figures into unnecessarily elaborate creations. They have
backstories, hopes, dreams, lost loves. Then our hero punches them and they're never heard from again. For instance, there's a character who appears in one scene, a police inspector, whose job is basically to
chase the hero and say 'Stop, Police!!' We thought that was a bit dull so we cut all his lines and turned him into this Frankenstein's Monster-esque creature who lumbers around can only talk in grunts. How did
this guy possibly get to the rank of Chief Inspector? I don't know. But I would watch that spin-off.
How could you watch it? Wirelesses don’t have pictures!
They will, Richard. They will.
I’m terribly confused. Is this how you want your audience to feel?
No. They won’t be struggling to compute as many contrafdictions in time and space as you, though.
Well, how will the audience feel when they walk out of your show?
Like they've been in a strangely aggressive tickling match with Alfred Hitchcock. He moves fast for a big guy, and he's got you on the floor, tickling behind your knees, and you're weak with laughter, and he's
reassuring you in an inordinately direct tone that he likes you quite a lot as a person but he just has to make you keep laughing.
I say, that sounds dangerous.
Comedy is a contact sport.
Now I don’t mean to be rude, my dear fellow, but 39 steps doesn’t really sound like very many steps. Don’t you think you’re setting the bar rather low?
Not if they're your puny mortal steps, no. But our steps are big. Like, Ziggurat of Ur big. Or that scene at the start of Ace Ventura 2, with the stupidly big temple, and he watches a slinky go down all those steps.
Thirty-nine was more than enough for Jim Carrey.
Now I want to put a slinky in the show. Go, slinky, go!