Working Spark Theatre

Ten Questions for John Murphy

The Ten Times Fundraising Campaign is still on!  Thank you to all who have donated so far.  We’ve raised an incredible $600!  Don’t know what the heck I’m talking about?  Click here to watch our Campaign video and donate now!  We still need your help to reach our goal of $2000.  Campaign runs till February 21, 2014.

Director John Murphy, being his usual quiet self.

Director John Murphy, being his usual quiet self.

The funds raised in will help support our forthcoming production of the new play, Ghosts in Baghdad, which will be directed by none other than Vancouver theatre treasure John Murphy.  John has been very busy as a director lately, having recently helmed The Odd Couple at the Arts Club, and last summer’s raucous, jazz-infused version of Measure for Measure at Bard on the Beach. As an actor, John has also performed in a wide range of genres, from sketch comedy, to one-man shows (in particular, his self-penned hit The Heretic), to Shakespeare.

In honour of the Ten Times Campaign, we asked John ten questions.  Here are his responses:

1.  Who are you? 

I have no idea.  It changes day to day.  If I had to sum it up in two words, I’d say entertainment mogul.


2.  Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don’t know.

I once ate half a bottle of ketchup and a dispenser of parmesan cheese on a dare for $11.

3. What was the piece you performed in your audition for theatre school?

Romeo’s “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks,” speech, and Wesley’s speech from Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepherd.

4.  How did it go?

Really well.  They asked me to join right away.

5.  What’s the most insane thing that’s ever happened to you while you were on stage?

There’s a couple things.  We were doing Collected Works of Billy the Kid at UBC.  Neil Gallagher, who was playing Billy, had just finished his “I’ve been fucked by Christ” speech, when someone in the audience stood up and started screaming at us: “The producers should be taken out and shot!”  He screamed and screamed and then stormed out of the theatre.  We just kept going.  We were singing a song while he was screaming and we didn’t stop.

The second thing that comes to mind was the time I had to improvize Shakespeare.  I was playing Hotspur in Henry IV Part 1 at UBC, and the guy who was playing the messenger in the scene missed his cue because was playing cards in the green room!  He eventually came on late, running and panting and with terror in his eyes.

6.  If you could replace an actor and take over their role in a film, what film and what role would it be?

I’d be Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Obviously. Come on.  One of the greatest movies ever made.

7.  What’s the first piece that you ever directed?

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll by Eric Begosian at the Cavern Theatre, starring Lee Tockar.

8. What’s the worst moment you’ve ever had as a director?

I once made the mistake of losing my temper at an actor.  A director should never allow their stress to be passed on to the acting company.  Acting is already stressful enough, and you want to feel that your director is on your side.  Now if I feel like I might be getting angry at an actor, I usually realize it’s something I can solve in a different way, or perhaps it was my fault to begin with, in that I could have directed the scene better.

9.  What’s the best moment or experience you’ve had as a director?

The best experience I’ve had as a director was directing Measure for Measure last summer at Bard, because it was my biggest vision to date.  It was a high-concept show, and it was a big risk, in terms of its scope.  To see it fly and succeed was a wonderful experience.

10.  If you could be something other than an actor or director, what would you be?

A rock star.  Doesn’t every actor really want to be a rock star?  Let’s be honest.

To help support John and the company of Ghosts in Baghdad, click here to donate.
It only takes $10!

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