Comedy’s Rising Star: Joseph Morpurgo
When Joseph Morpurgo isn’t thrilling audiences with costumed improv darlings Austentatious, he’s probably working on his next one-man show. His latest – Hammerhead – is a dizzying masterpiece of invention.
WHY DO COMEDIANS OFTEN TAKE A WHILE TO BREAK THROUGH?
Perhaps because broadcast opportunities for comedians are quite limited; or because they have to develop independently, which takes time (rather than being refined in drama school, say); or that they are a mix of writer, actor and director, a hybrid skillset which doesn’t have a natural home on telly unless you’re really good at one in particular. I don’t know. I just saw Dunkirk, it was great. Can we talk about that instead?
ARE YOU NATURAL OR GRAFT?
Graft, graft, graft, graft, graft, graft (to the tune of Rihanna’s ‘Work’).
WHERE DOES INSPIRATION COME FROM?
I enjoy working with high-concepts or formal limitations, which mean you have to challenge yourself to think in slanted ways.
I think it also helps to take inspiration from things that aren’t comedy, where you can enjoy something as a fan rather than feeling you have to anatomise it.
By that token, in the mix with Hammerhead were: Frank Pavich’s film Jodorowsky’s Dune; Mark Z. Danielewski’s book House Of Leaves; and Lost In La Mancha, which looks at Terry Gilliam’s hilariously ill-starred attempt to adapt Don Quixote for the screen.
More broadly, I thought it might be fun to do a show about a non-existent show the audience has supposedly just seen, and experiment with what that show-within-a-show might look like.
Hammerhead; Soho Theatre; Mon 16 – Sat 28 Oct 2017, 8.45pm
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