RADAR 2014: Q&A with Am I Dead Yet?

Am I Dead Yet? co-creator Chris Thorpe talks death, Emily Dickinson, and having his pilot’s licence revoked (though this may be a lie…)

Can you tell us about your show in one sentence

It’s about trying to have a conversation about death and dying, and it’s nowhere near as morbid as that makes it sound.

What questions lies at the heart of the show; what are you asking the audience?

How good are we really at talking about death?
What’s going to happen to the process of dying in the future – as we develop more and more technology to stave it off?
How do you think about your own death?
What could you do – right now – to save somebody’s life if you needed to?

Tell us three things about yourself, one of them must be a lie.

I had a vestigial tail removed just after I was born.
I was once attacked by a pack of feral dogs in Moscow and had to fight them off with a lighter and a can of deodorant.
I used to have a pilot’s license but it was revoked.

What sparked the original idea for this piece and how has it evolved?

Jon’s hypochondria. And it’s evolved to the extent it’s not about Jon’s hypochondria any more.

What excites you about being part of RADAR 2014?

I love working at the Bush. The team, the philosophy and the performance space. Also working with Amy Hodge. And the other work that we’re alongside.

Do you feel your work is inspired by, responding to or reacting against any work from wider culture (films, art, music, etc)?

If I could write something one day half as good as a single poem by Emily Dickinson I’d be OK with that.

What direction do you feel yourself moving in creatively, and what comes next for you as an artist?

I want stuff to be more and more a live conversation – or at least to have room in it for that. For people to contribute, talk back, debate while the art is going on.
Next I’m working on touring a solo show, Confirmation, writing a couple of new plays, some new stuff with Hannah Walker and Third Angel and working with a Norwegian black metal band to soundtrack a show. Also talking about the next thing I’m making with Rachel Chavkin. I’d be rubbish if I couldn’t collaborate.

We’re compiling a RADAR playlist to play in the bar throughout the festival – we’re asking the audience and our Twitter followers to nominate songs that feel ‘on the pulse’, music (from any era) that they feel is under the radar, and music that inspires them. What songs would you add to it and why?

Hallogallo by NEU!

Because it is basically all pulse.
Flirted With You All My Life by Vic Chesnutt

Because it’s one of the best songs about death ever written.

Am I Dead Yet? is on at RADAR from 13 – 15 November.