When we heard the news that West End sensation Bad Jews was being staged at the Fugard Theatre, we knew we’d want to sit down with talented director Greg Karvellas for a chat about it!
So, when we caught up with the multi-talented Greg at the Fugard Theatre on Friday 16 October, 2015 we quizzed him about Bad Jews and all things theatre related, while sipping on some very delicious Fugard Blue Iris cocktails.
Actor, producer and director, there seems to be very little the charming Greg cannot do. Most well-known for being the associate director on A Human Being Died That Night, which recently transferred to The Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City; he has also frequently collaborated with Fleur du Cap award winner Louis Viljoen on The Abusers, The Bile Boys, The Frontiersmen and Champ.
There is no doubt that Greg is very passionate about his Bad Jews project as he excitedly explains that this New York set comedy focuses on a trio of cousins and the mayhem that ensues in the wake of their grandfather’s death. It stars Lara Lipschitz (Cabaret, Jersey Boys), Glen Biderman-Pam (Somewhere on the Border, The Epicene Butcher) and Oliver Booth (Skews Me, Life with Oli Booth, Champ).
Seeing his passion for the project clearly reflected in his choice of his vibrant and young cast, we just had to know whether he then would also choose directing over acting? "I much prefer directing. I’m a terrible actor..." Greg paused in response "maybe I’m a brilliant actor, but I just get freaked out in front of an audience. I prefer directing so that I can tackle the actors, the set etc." There is just no doubt that he is one of those directors that loves to see the development of the process as it unfolds, allowing the script to grow along with the cast and crew. To be honest, the shows we tend to love most, usually are the result of directors with such a visionary approach to theatre.
Listening to Greg unpack his directors approach in Bad Jews, we became curious, which theatre legend would he then most like to collaborate with... there has to be someone? Looking at us somewhat cautiously, Greg qualified that his answer would probably sound cliché but his dream was very legit (and not just because of the venue we were sitting in). With that he revealed...
"I would love to work with Athol Fugard again. Yes, I know what that sounds like but I worked with him before, which I didn’t think in a million years I’d get to do and I really want to do it again. I don’t know on what, though, whether it’s a play or something. He is just such an incredible man. He’s got million stories to tell so yes, I’d love to work with him."
Even though he says that some days he wakes up and just declares "ok, this is it, I'm done with theatre, I'm opening up a bar", it is clear that theatre is not just a job for him. Theatre is a lifestyle for Greg, and in the end when we asked he had to agree...
"Theatre as a lifestyle for me is exactly that. It’s the thing I’ve kind of struggled with because you can’t do it halfway. Every other Wednesday, I’m ready to give it all up but then a show like Bad Jews comes along and you realise how much fun theatre is. And that is what it is to me – fun. I don’t like to take theatre seriously – that’s why it’s called a play."
And then when it comes to Bad Jews, we captured some of Greg’s passion for his show on camera …
We can’t wait to see Bad Jews! Oh and hint hint… we got to see a sneak peek of the very hip and modern set. We can without a doubt declare that it already looked AMAZNG, even though at that stage they were still building! Joey and Chandler would so definitely approve! Can't wait to see the final product.
Bad Jews opens at the Fugard Theatre on Tuesday 27 October, 2015. Tickets are R130 to R150 and are available at Computicket.