Scott Wings talks to Amanda Anastasi about his Melbourne Comedy Festival show Colossi.
In Colossi, you draw on myth and fairytale, as well as a sense of play, to explore ideas on dealing with negativity, anxiety and strength. What, in life, is your ‘troll-resistant armour’?
I was talking about this with an artist friend of mine the other day and how all our friends are artists. My troll resistant armour is my non-artist friends. The ones I play video games and go fishing with. The ones who don’t care about the “industry” or the perils of it. And while they ask how I’m going and enquire about my career, I can share my life with them. It quickly becomes bad puns, mum jokes and a conversation about the new X Men movie. We make a bonfire and smoke a blunt and just chill the fuck out, ya know? You need that. Hanging out with artists too much quickly becomes an “inmates running the asylum” scenario. It’s not good for me to constantly have. So my mates are my grounding and the ones I turn to when I need to remember what life is actually about.
Tell us about your childhood imaginary friend.
Ironically I didn’t really meet Jack until I was working on this show. I was raised a single child and you’d assume I had one. But nah. Me and my ninja turtles toys got along just fine. But I was talking to a lot of people who had imaginary friends. One of my Brisbane friends had an imaginary friend who would cop the blame for all of her bad behaviour. Until she had to kill her imaginary friend so they “died in a fire.” Seriously. People’s brains are amazing. Now that Jack and I get to play a lot in COLOSSI I think often of how he would handle situations. Jack helps a lot. He’s handy to have around. Adults need more imaginary friends I think. As long as it’s not crazy for you.
Colossi would appeal to the child in all of us and is so refreshingly imaginative. It is also an extremely physical, vocal performance in which you exert what seems to be limitless energy. What do you do to prepare for each performance?
I’ve been training in viewpoints and Suzuki physical theatre training for about 4 years. So a lot of the show was born from those methodologies around physicality and extremity. I basically put my body into the most engaging positions, using time and space to stretch and bend the state of play my body is using. I prepare for it with some standard exercise, a lot of cardio, and I play a lot. I head to a park and just play, sword fight, tag with trees (they’re not very good at it), throw tennis balls around. Essentially enter a state of flexibility with the world. Become open. It sounds wanky and awkward, and it can be when people walk past and you’re holding a big stick and pretending to fight a dragon. I’m 32. So I’ve been photographed doing a lot doing stupid shit. But you can’t do a show that is so open and responsive and playful without being open and responsive and playful yourself. And as adults it is so sad that people have such a bland structured life that does not allow that space to play unless it’s at a bar or on a football field or something. We’ve done strange things as a society.
So which is worse and why – a troll, a goblin, a dragon or a giant?
The Giants definitely. Shadow Of Colossus, the ps2 game, was a big influence on this show. The despair of the Giants. They’re so sad when they die. The trolls and goblins and dragons are bit-players in the show. But those Giants we have roaming in our heads. Aw, man. What a bunch of jerks.
Name the poet or poetry collection you keep returning to.
I will always have time for Eleanor Jackson. She’s probably the best poet/storyteller Australia has. Untouchable.
In the show, Jack (one of the many characters you inhabit), exclaims “Words are amazing! You can do anything with words!” This begs the question…what is your favourite word?
Poetic self-portrait: in no more than seven words, describe Scott Wings.
Cynical joker with a dope fucking wingspan
Colossi is showing at the Melbourne Comedy Festival on Mon-Tues and Thurs-Sun from April 7 – 17 @ The Tuxedo Cat, 293-299 La Trobe Street, Melbourne. Book your tickets at the Melbourne Comedy Festival website.
Amanda won the 2010 and 2011 Williamstown Literary Festival’s Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize. She has since been a judge for both the Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize and the Right Now Human Rights Poetry Prize. She has performed in many spoken word events and festivals in Melbourne.
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