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Meet the Cast: Interview with Callan Purcell

We spoke with Callan Purcell, star of the upcoming Blue by Thomas Weatherall, and asked him a lightning round of questions about what drew him to the play, what he’s looking forward to doing in Adelaide, and if he would have his character from the play over for dinner!

Meet Callan Purcell

What drew you to the role of Mark in Blue?

Well for me, I love how Thomas wrote this young man with such a burning desire to connect. A session of confessions of epic proportions. He shares the most fragile of things on his mind, in his heart. There’s a rigour to the way he dances around the truth and at other times, dives into the belly of memories. He vaults between reliving memories, telling stories, having revelations, dreaming into the future. He’s the only one we hear from in this play…all the other presences live through him and conjured through his perception of them. Mark has nowhere to hide. I’ve never done a role like this before or one that sits so close to home.

Blue is a coming of age amid themes of death, despair, mental health but also love and hope. Has art/theatre helped you to navigate/heal moments in your life?

Of course! It’s why I keep coming back. Moreso back to the process of making theatre…how you learn about people and yourself through the work you make and how they play.
I’ve met some of the most beautiful people through art and artistic spaces. When you deal with those themes— death..despair…mental health…it’s easier to know you’ve got people beside you processing the same questions. People come to watch you deal with stuff and make sense of the world. Or just for a good laugh. Both make you feel a little less lonely, I reckon.

What do you appreciate about Mark’s character?

He’s got the rest of his life ahead of him! He is only at the beginning. I love that he’s not afraid. Wait, rather he feels the fear wholeheartedly and still keeps diving down. He has such an unapologetic way of seeing the world and walking through it.

Blue is somewhat of an ode to mothers and how they help us launch into our lives. Did this mother/son connection speak to you?

Haha! My middle name is ‘mumma’s boy’. Donna, my mum, and I have gained and lost things together— we’ve seen the other at our worst and my god we’ve laughed a lot together. Recently it has dawned on me it’s her first swing at life as well. It’s what Mark’s mum sacrifices and how she perseveres that rubs off onto him. Both Mark and I have a deep respect for our mothers as survivors and as artists. His circumstances remind me to lean into the love I have for her. I just want to say I love my dad too. We just have a different way of showing it (that’s the next play).

What are you looking forward to coming to Adelaide to perform in Blue?

I’ll be taking it all in for the first time. I’m ready to let Adelaide and the festival swallow me up. It’s also the first time Blue has been performed outside of Belvoir as well as by a different performer, so this is new territory for the project as well. Thrilling times.

Why should people come to see Blue?

It’s a play written, directed and mostly designed by mob. It’s supporting Adelaide Festival. It’s championing young men to talk about things they don’t usually talk about. Honestly, it’ll change your life.

Would you have dinner with your character (Mark)? What would that be like?

Yeah I reckon I would. I know it’d be mango chicken and naan at the beach or something after a swim and that’s a vibe. I feel like I’d have to pay for it all though because he ‘left his wallet in the car’…

Below is a photo gallery of Callan as Aaron Burr in Hamilton.