Interview with Linus Karp

Following a successful run at the King’s Head Theatre earlier this year, one-man tragi-comedy Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked is set to embark on a national tour this autumn. I caught up with star Linus Karp again to find out more. 

For those people who haven’t seen Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked, what can they expect?
A fun and unique show, that is constantly keeping you on the edge of unsettling. The most relatable and thought provoking play about one-night stands with animals you’ll ever find.

How has the play developed since it was first performed?
I’ve had the opportunity to be directed by two absolute Queens of theatre. The first run was directed by Maddie Rice (Fleabag, Pickle Jar) who is an incredible actor who really brought the comedy to life and taught me so much about performing a solo show. Ahead of the second run Katharine Armitage (zazU, Teabreak Theatre) took over directing duties as Maddie was busy performing three (!!?) shows at once. Katharine is such a wonderful director who always knows how to make you feel safe and looked after as an actor – building on what I had done with Maddie, Katharine also added a whole new emotional depth and the story became more even more relatable and human – not bad considering the surreal set up.

So being given the opportunity to be influenced by different directors, both of them brilliant, has meant that the show has developed, and having done multiple runs has made me as a performer a lot more at home in the character and the material – the scary aspects of a one person play I am now able to enjoy and tackle with confidence.

How did you first get into acting?
From a very young age I knew I wanted to be an actor, but growing up in the Swedish forests there weren’t that many opportunities. I went on to Drama School and after graduating I moved to London, as I always had wanted to perform here and work in English. The rest is, as they say, history (if history includes specialising in bestiality comedy).

What do you enjoy most about performing Awkward Conversations?
I’ve enjoyed many parts I’ve played, but for the first time I feel like I’m doing something that feels tailor made for me. The dialogue, awkwardness and humour – we’re a perfect match.

I also love how engaged the audience get, and it’s such a joy to feel how they go from roaring laughter, to unsettled shuffling, to suspense and silence – sometimes within seconds.

What has been the reaction to date?
It’s been very positive. It’s amazing how quickly the audience come on board the story and sympathise with the character, only to realise, through some well placed reminders, how wrong the scenario playing out in front of them actually is.

It always makes people talk and ask questions, and often they’re surprised at how emotionally invested they got in a story they expected to just be a bizarre comedy. It’s wonderful to do something that’s anything but vanilla.

How would you describe the show?
The Stage called it “unquestionably memorable”, which I think is true. It’s different from anything else. It’s a funny, clever, weird, sweet, uncomfortable piece of theatre that will make you laugh and think.

Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*ucked is touring the UK from 24 September.

Tour Dates
24-25 September – Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford
30 September – 1 October – Alma Tavern and Theatre, Bristol
4-5 October – Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham
8-12 October – Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle
15-16 October – King’s Arms Theatre, Manchester
25 October – Marlborough Theatre, Brighton

Photo credit: Dave Bird

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