Cast Interview - Kris Wood

As we approach our production of Stripped we've decided to pose some interview questions to our actors so that the world may get to know them and relate to them before going in and to find out just how much actors like to talk.

The newest person to let us in on their heart's desire is Kris Wood who plays He (Or Him depending on the grammatical context)

Describe yourself in six words?
The tallest man on this stage.

At 6’8” you’re probably the tallest man in the galaxy. I don’t know if this is true, I haven’t done the legwork (and measuring tall people would be a lot of legwork)
What attracted you to the role?
 I was tired of playing grotesques, and fancied having a crack at playing a more normalistic character. Plus, it's the lead role, who wouldn't want the lead role!?

What attracted you to me?
 If you squint and cover half of your face with a hand, you look a bit like a lady, plus you're the only person that will hire me.

Yeah, being able to hire people is how I get most women...
What's your origin story? What traumatic event or alien encounter has lead you down this theatrical path to the point where I'm making you answer this inane question?
 It was the only subject at school I was ever any good at, I kind of regret not following it up so want to make the most of this opportunity.

Never forget all that I have done for you! I trust you shan’t let me down. Tell us about the character you play.
He is just a regular, everyday, somewhat whiney young man who finds himself in an unfathomable situation and is left completely out of his depth. He lives his life in a monotonous routine and finds it safe as he never has to question anything. The meaning of his existence is something he would have never even considered, which is why he is so out of his depth and bemused by the fact he know has to face it head on.

What is your characters theme song?
Probably something dull and downbeat, check the Coldplay back catalogue.

I know that’s a dig at me but I’ll follow up and say that “Now My Feet Won’t Touch the Ground” from their Prospekt’s March EP probably fits most.
What do you know about the character that no one else knows?
His full name and no, I'm not telling.

How have you found the rehearsal process?
Rehearsals have been pretty full on, but they have an organic feel to them (wait, that made me sound like a tit, I'll rephrase)... it's been well good. Basically each time we've rehearsed I've gotten out of it what I've put into it. If I've worked hard I feel like I've had a good day, but if I'm feeling lethargic then afterwards I feel like I haven't really achieved anything. Plus it's a group of people who are all trying to outdo each other in the comedy stakes, so it almost feels competitive, but in a way that makes you want to throw yourself into it more than you have been doing in all previous rehearsals.

Do you have a specific warm-up or ritual before going on stage?
Pace around nervously trying not to be sick. I try not to think about what I'm going to say, so like to just make idle conversation, if I over think I become paranoid that my mind will go blank, so I just try to distract myself.

It’s supposedly a comedy and whilst a lot of that rests on the script, everyone has been cast because they're naturally funny. What are your comedy influences?
Henry Rollins and Charlie Brooker are probably two of my biggest influences, they're not really trying to make you laugh, they're trying to make you think about something or tell you a story and the laughter is a by product or a narrative device for them. Their styles of comedy derive from just not being satisfied with the mundanity of everyday life, they'll obsess and overreact about the minutest of details that most people just wouldn't even notice, much like I find myself doing most of the time. They want you to take a look into their mind and see what makes them laugh, they don't care if you find it funny- it's funny to them. Bill Hicks was probably one of the first people to do that, so I guess I'll have to add him to my list too.

If you had Nine days to find the meaning of your life where would you look first?
 I'd just Google it, then I'd probably get distracted by a video of a cat and forget what I was meant to be doing in the first place.

Do you feel your height impacts your ability to play an "everyman" role? Or to be a part of this ensemble piece where everyone is out to get you? Or do you think being a giant adds something?
 I like to think of it this way. Most of the other characters are manifestations that have existed for thousands of years, when they were first around people were a lot smaller, so their size would have been intimidating, whereas they look small in comparison to a modern day person. Seeing as they're so adept at their jobs of torturing a human psyche, they've never really seen the need to make themselves bigger so that they can feel more physically imposing; they simply don't have to be that physically imposing when their actions and words speak volumes about what they're capable of.

How many walls have you broken during the rehearsal process for ‘Stripped’?
Walls cannot contain me.