Friday, October 01, 2004

Brian McCardie's Number is Up

“I think the person who can most understand the predicament this play talks about is an actor,” says Brian McCardie about playing the part of three identical clones in Caryl Churchill’s curious and provocative short play, A Number.

“In every part I play, it’s always someone different, but of course, it’s always still me…”

McCardie would be well entitled to a little confusion on that subject, however, having played in a rake of Hollywood blockbusters, as well as doing his time in British television drama, appearing in everything from Rob Roy to The Bill and back again. It is a career that has inspired dozens of fan sites, something that McCardie laughs off:

“It’s the Rob Roy effect, I think. I mean, there really isn’t anything more attractive than a man in a skirt, now, is there..?”

Now, however, the actor has moved home from Hollywood. His first stop was Glasgow, and, after the tour of A Number (“a kind of cheap holiday”), to London, where he will be pursuing stage roles. “The one power an actor has is to say “no,” to turn down a job…I had had quite a few “young” roles and I wanted to play some roles with a bit more complexity and the theatre is the only place for that.”

How very true. In Caryl Churchill’s play he has been asked to perform his strangest role yet: to play a gang of clones who are coming to terms, in one way or another, with the fact that they are not entirely individual in the traditional sense, that they are, in one sense, only copies.

“What the play is talking about, human cloning, that will certainly happen. Someone will do it and present it to the world as a fait accompli,” says McCardie. “And then there will be all this moral debate about what it means.”

“I really believe that she is working out a real moral problem – maybe that is why she leaves so many things undecided; why she doesn’t really come to a conclusion. Sometimes I think she is deliberately fucking with the audiences heads.”

McCardie is not, as it happens, an unswerving fan of Churchill’s work. “In my experience at least, she can be very hit and miss. She is always very experiment, which is what you have to be of course, but it doesn’t always come off.”

And this time?

“Well, we’ll have to see, won’t we…”

Space Upstairs, Project, Dublin, October 2004

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