Features Q&A and Interviews Published 9 December 2011

Chris Goode

On storytelling and unlikely super heroes.

Honour Bayes

I think back to why I was so whole heartedly prepared to jump into Goode’s world and I keep coming back to its incredible detail. Within an hour the lives of Wound Man and Shirley are revealed before us in marvellous blossoming colour. The ‘clankity-clunk’ that Wound Man makes as he walks down into the cul-de-sac, the description of PE teacher Mr Carpenter-Finch’s silly tracksuit ensembles, OK Potato (the café they hang out in) which is like a Radiohead-themed outpost of Spud-U-Like  or how Shirley transcends his surroundings when he watches the boy he is obsessed with, his fellow long distance runner, Subway Darling. For Goode the key to this was the ‘call back’. “I think part of the sense you have of it being quite a detailed and a filled in sort of world is that there are things you will hear about in one moment that I will go back to 20 minutes later and just touch in with again. There are these rhythms that come back, or lines or phrases that recur and I really like doing that.” It seems interesting that this is a trick that both storytellers and stand-ups can share, automatically creating an immense sense of satisfaction in an audience “…there’s something fun about doing that but also for me it’s a way of creating a universe because it creates a fictional place where the kind of patterns that we find exciting about our own universe, the correspondences and coincidences create a sense of realism within a framework that’s really all about making stuff up.”

It is a world and a story that Goode is at peace with. As a performer who usually encourages and plays with a large amount of uncertainty in his work, part of what he is enjoying is the craftedness involved within the piece “Whatever you’re doing on stage I think you kind of have to own it and I think I’ve too often lacked confidence to really own what I’m doing and that’s why it’s so nice now to do Wound Man because I trust it enough as a story that actually I really love telling. I really love having that connection with an audience and I don’t feel like a dick for doing it and that’s such a treat.” Goode feels a certainty within the story of Wound Man and Shirley which means he has regained his daylight life “I usually tend to have quite dread filled days” he laughs “that hasn’t happened here so I’ve got my days back, normally I would just expect to spend the days before a show biting my nails and scowling at things whilst eating crisps.”

Perhaps this is the loveliest thing about Goode. Like Wound Man he puts himself in painful positions for the benefit of others. A reluctant performer who places himself directly in front of audiences and then removed all safety nets (the original set for Wound Man was much more complex so he could hide behind it) Goode is giving us his all. Maybe that’s why audiences love him so much. Or maybe it’s because he says things like “I realised with some horror in Edinburgh that Wound Man is Prince Charles…he’s the royal personage who turns up in the aftermath of a disaster, stands there and says ‘Ah well how terrible for you all’ and everyone feels a bit better.”

The Adventures of Wound Man and Shirley is at BAC until 10th December 2011 with extra performances on the  29th & 30th December. Chris Goode’s Hippo World Guest Book is at Stoke Newington International Airport on the 19th December 2011.


Honour Bayes

Honour is a freelance writer based in London. As well as contributing to Exeunt she has had articles published on the Guardian arts blog, Total Theatre, Arts Professional, What's On Stage and FEST Magazine. She is Theatre Editor of bi-yearly publication Fourthwall, is worryingly obsessed with Twitter and has her own blog, Theatre Workbook, where she also twitters on regularly.