Who’s Upstairs: Alex McCarthy

10359321_10152892314303502_2192602335433325299_nAlex McCarthy is the director and writer of the physical theatre drama Cannibal Country, on at the Alexander Upstairs from 15 – 20 February 2016.

Home town?
Johannesburg.

Tell us a little more about your show?
Cannibal Country is an allegorical tale about white capital. Using physical theatre, we explore the personal and systemic relationships between white capital, the un-transormed economy and ordinary South Africans.

And what’s next on the cards for you?
I’m moving to the UK soon to further my studies… I haven’t applied for a course of anything yet but… I will. I should. I should do that right now. Other than that, I have texts I’ve been writing as part of a residency at the Baxter theatre last year which I will be looking to take to production stages. Look out for them end of of the year and early next year.

And the project you’re dreaming of?
My recent dream show is one called Pale Male, that pits Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn and Pope Francis in a play together. It will be wild, abstract. There will be mud fights, uni-bear jousting and also incredibly interesting discussions about each characters particular brand of white, hetero masculinity. Also, I want to write play called Wishful Thinking, where all the worlds collective dreams come true on stage and every one leaves feeling uplifted and together-ed.

How did you get into theatre?
I guess the short answer requires a gesture to my parents who are both theatre people. Theatre has always been in my life, even when I was too young to recognise its magical potential. For a long time I thought theatre was boring and confusing. I was 9, but it happened. Then in high school I realised I quite liked attention, and that I was not at bad this theatre thing. When I said as much, I saw this little sparkle come into my parents’ eye (at separate times, they are divorced you understand). I took that as an auspicious sign, and went forth and vomitted all over the little girl starring as the ballerina in my primary school’s version of the Nutcracker. It was the opening night. I was the Nutcracker and it was embarrassing AF. Never the less, I thought that it was awesome, got my self cast in high-school plays and found myself six years later studying theatre at UCT and now I’m a professional. I have the ballerina on Facebook, but we’re not tight.

Dinner with any two figures from history: who would you invite and what would you serve them?
Aristotle and Antonin Artuad and I would serve them really kak mac and cheese just to make sure everyone was mad offended.

Favorite spot in Cape Town (besides Alexander Bar, obviously)?
The Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay. The seafood pasta. It is so.

What excites you about theatre?
I think the wizardry excites me. But mostly, because it’s mundane magic. Because it’s magic made by people for people with people about people.

What mistakes have you made and learned the most from?
Apart from the vomiting thing in primary school. When I was a teenager, I was kind-of dating this girl. We hadn’t put a lable on it. But I really liked her, and she was into the same things I was into and we were 17. So one day she calls me up and says ‘Okay, what are we doing?’. I freeze. I like her. I want to be her boyfriend. I just want to say ‘Obviously we’re dating, duh’, but instead my face glows red, my bowels make unfavorable sounds and I say ‘What do you mean? We’re just friends.’ So obviously, that’s the end of that and 17 year old Alex literally just blew the first solid relationship opportunity he had ever been offered.

From then on, I put an absolute premium on clear and effective communication in absolutely all situations.

Who do you think people should be talking about?
There is a show on at the Galloway theatre called Doctor Godenstein’s Man. You know Callum Tilbury. The fabulous man of hilarious mystery who is very good friends with Lady Aria Grey? Yeah he wrote and designed that play so you know it’s going to be effing awesome in all the ways you can possibly imagine. It has fabulous actors and a brilliant director. Get to it. Now. After seeing Cannibal Country.