An Interview With

Chris Issacs

Writer of the 2016 Martin Sims Award Winning Show: The Great Ridolphi



How long have you been an artist? Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I've been working in the theatre sector for around 11 years now. I guess the practice changes depending on what my role is on a show, whether it's as a writer, devisor, performer, or production support, but the one thing I'm drawn to is a sense of collaboration with other great artists. I like to be in a room where the creatives on a show can push, debate, challenge and inspire each other.


Can you tell us a bit about your show?

The Great Ridolphi is the story of a man chasing the shadow of his dead father. There's an art heist in there, magic tricks and illusions, messages from the beyond the grave and maybe a little resurrection. It's a one man show with the wonderful Steve Turner playing out all the characters, and in parts it's a celebration of the mysticism of life.


What about these themes drew you to write Great Ridolphi?

I'm constantly in a fear of death. I'm interested in the big questions of existence and purpose, and how we spend the time we have here.


Who are some of your favourite writers?

Playwrights: Caryl Churchill. Tennessee Williams. Arthur Miller. Tracy Letts.    

Novelists: John Steinbeck. Cormac McCarthy. Toni Morrison. Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Do you have a favourite line in the show you can share with us?

'And in the distance I hear cheering.' 


Can you tell us what you love about writing for performance?

Your audience is not separated from you. The response is live, it's real, it's a part of the work. A piece written to be read privately and by one person alone in a room exists entirely in their heads when they read it, but a work written to be shared with a two hundred sitting audience members, actors, designers, directors, tech crew... is a living and breathing thing. The audience share in the creation of the work - that's important to me. And then the next night it is different because it's always changing.  


You have been a long term participant in FRINGE WORLD, What’s your favourite thing about FRINGE WORLD?

The opportunity it gives to artists looking for a platform to present their work. Perth suffers from a lack of space to perform, FRINGE WORLD is a wonderful time of the year where space is available for so many.


What does it mean for you to be making work in WA?

I grew up here, so it's home in a lot of ways. I suppose I enjoy building the community. We're growing in Perth and I feel like it's something I want to stick through and support by staying here and helping it grow.


What are you working on next?

Developments with The Last Great Hunt. Remounting The Great Ridolphi at the Subiaco Theatre Festival, and then touring it and FAG/STAG to Edinburgh. As well as writing a few plays in between.


If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

Wild. I hope.