Cameron Corcoran on taking Wolf to Camden Fringe 2022
Normally here at ET Towers we tend to do interviews before a show starts its run. We like to have a chat with some of the people involved and we hope you like the results. But this time we have something a little different. We reviewed Wolf at Camden Fringe and by chance exchanged a couple of emails with author Cameron Corcoran afterwards. Out of this we thought it might be interesting to talk with him after Wolf had finished its short run for a slightly different perspective than usual.
First, let’s talk Wolf, how would you describe it and what can audiences expect?
Wolf is a play about domestic and sexual abuse; it considers the more realistic likelihood of these crimes: that they’re committed in the home and it is often the father and not some imagined stranger. I think audiences can expect to feel uncomfortable and also reflect on our ideas of abuse and how complicit people can be/feel for their actions, whether it be ignoring it or acting against it.
Wolf has finished its short Camden Fringe run, how do you think it went? Did anything surprise you about the audience reception?
Given that we only performed it twice, I think it’s fair to say we were all gutted we couldn’t do it at least one more time – you discover things in the room that weren’t present in rehearsals and things also come across differently to a live audience, so it would have been nice to have a few more performances. I think we forgot just how uncomfortable and awful the situation in the story is: we’ve sat with this information for a while and as soon as we finished the first performance we noticed a quiet in the audience, which informed us just how dark the story is.
As well as writing Wolf, you play the character of Sam. Did you write Sam with the intent to also take on the role or did that come later in the process?
For me, I’m starting an MA in acting at Rose Bruford College in October and I wanted to do a play before I start so I could get back into the swing of things. I did always envision playing Sam because I knew it was really outside of my comfort zone as a performer, so felt it was the best experience before October. I felt I could do the role competently enough not to sabotage the other actors too, so it was very early into writing I knew I’d be playing Sam.
Wolf is at times quite heavy, with a lot of tension early on. Our review mentions it’s the only show where it was so tense the reviewer didn’t end up taking a single note. When you are on stage with the lights on and the audience around, were you aware of this?
That’s very kind of you to say and very humbling too. Our director (Naomi Wirthner) and assistant director (Polly Waldron) worked very hard to trim the fat on the script, to keep the tension high and sustained. The original script was an hour long but after cuts it was just 32 minutes. They’re both experts in creating tension so I can’t really take the credit for that. Certainly, I felt I had written a few lines, small little bits of humour that received a muted response from the audience. Maybe they weren’t funny, but it felt like the stakes in the scenes were far too serious for laughter. I felt that too, it all seemed very real and we could sense how engaged the audience were with what was happening in the scene.
When you kindly invited us to see Wolf, you said you had invited some theatres along in the hope of finding a run for it. How is that process going, have you had any nibbles?
I think with theatre nowadays it’s extremely difficult to get theatres to come and watch a play. I often get replies asking to provide them with a recorded version of the play, which doesn’t seem to add any further dialogue… It can be quite frustrating getting little feedback from theatres. I know there are lots of plays on and resources are limited, so it is a godsend to have Camden Fringe because otherwise it’s very difficult to get plays on, even for extremely limited runs. Nevertheless, we are toying with the idea of performing Wolf locally. I’ll have to let you know.
Camden Fringe is over and we reviewed 38 productions: did you have a chance to see any other shows?
Regrettably not this time! I think the cost of living is affecting everyone. We had liaised with a number of companies on social media; however, both sides were unable to attend each other’s plays. I think in these times the theatre industry does have to fight very hard to get an audience in. I’m not cynical, I’m sure things will get better – it just felt like a bit of a perfect storm to hinder access to watching theatre this summer.
Finally, while I imagine your main focus is on Wolf at the moment, are you working on anything else? Might we see another piece of writing or acting from you or Off Main Stage in the near future?
Notwithstanding a potential performance of Wolf locally, I’ve been under strict instructions to focus on the MA for the next 12 months. However, after a run of our play Mosquito at the Seven Dials Playhouse (a truly amazing venue), I have been writing a new play called Nook, which focuses on family relations, and I’d like to approach Seven Dials with the hope of putting the play on there. It does feel like my best work to date.
Thanks to Cameron for taking the time to chat to us. We wish you the best of luck with the MA and with Wolf. We are also big fans of Seven Dials Playhouse and would love to see Nook make an appearance there down the line.