Stalking the Bogeyman - Interview with Graeme McRae
"No one is making this stuff up"
For a short time only, The Old Fitz will be home to a piece of theatre with a premise that's hard to resist. Stalking The Bogeyman is the true story of David Holthouse who plots revenge on his rapist twenty-five years after the event has taken place. I talked with lead actor Graeme McRae hours before his first preview performance in the role:
What's it about?
It's a true story that was shown to the world a little while ago, about a guy who was abused when he was 7 by a family friend and then held onto this secret for 25 years. He had originally grown up in Alaska but when he became a journalist he moved to Denver for his career and one day, out of the blue, got a phone call from his mum to say this guy - who unbeknownst to her had done this 'thing' to him as a kid - was moving to Denver. Again, he would be living in the back pocket of this person, so a lot of demons were brought to the surface and he decided to do something about it.
Though the story follows on from this moment, we see both sides of the story: him as a kid and what was going on for him whilst living very close to this older kid who had done this to him, and then later feeling as though he had been freed from it, only to have it rocking up on his door step again.
The original story was written by David Holthouse, and then it got picked up by the popular podcast This American Life. Then, because that's such a huge platform at the moment, the world heard it! Next, a theatre writer - Markus Potter - picked it up and asked David if he could turn it into the play, which he agreed to. So, what was a half hour monologue became this play version which we are tackling now.
Is this a difficult character for you to step into?
Yeah, It is. It's quite a full on story to insert yourself into, and to carry the weight of. The character itself? There are some difficulties to him; at certain points I'm playing a young person attempting to deal with all of this heavy, heavy content. And secondly, I'm constantly going back to monologuing! Just figuring how to sustain that style, and keep it bubbling along has been my biggest, but most exciting, challenge.
What will the audiences come away with?
It is powerful theatre. I'm kind of interested in seeing what the chats are in the foyer afterwards. I'm sure lots of people will have different opinions about what they would have done had they been in David's situation. I don't want to give anything away, but some people might be displeased with how it ends and others will certainly take it on board.
How is it working with your fellow cast members?
It's easy which is always what you want! Everybody is so nice, which makes work such a simple and enjoyable task. If you can get this far, all the way to the tech run, and feel it's been a happy journey then that says it all really!
Have you had any contact with David Holthouse yourself?
Neil Gooding, the director, had a good conversation with him, and I was also offered the opportunity to speak to David. I thought about it but there was a hesitancy to talk to the man and then have my brain say 'oh that's how he acts, that's how he talks...' and so on. I didn't want to be boxed-in as a performer, so I strayed away from that opportunity. But he was happy to be contacted and to answer any questions. I think the fact that Neil forged a relationship with him helped me trust my director to make sure I was doing justice to David's character, but also telling his story in the best possible way.
Do you feel ready for the first preview tonight?
I think the show is at a great point now. Let's see what the audience does to it!
More info and get your tix here.