Bad Blood Blues: Q&A with Director Chris Parker

Chapel Off Chapel will host the Australian Premiere of Bad Blood Blues this week and caught up with director Chris Parker to for a quick Q&A about the show.

Chris Parker

AT: This is a new play (first performed in London, 2009) – what drew you to this piece?

I first became aware of this play through a friend; I was given the play to read. Upon first reading I was thrilled by how fast the tempo felt on the page, I found myself turning the pages whilst still trying to digest all the information from the previous moment, but not willing to stop to let myself catch up properly. I could immediately imagine how exciting this would be to watch. The are some very important questions that are brought up through the play, and I’m not sure they are ever completely answered. I think there is wisdom in that somewhere. We are made aware of the size and complexity of issues such as HIV in Africa, the miscommunication and misunderstanding that is within that, and the moral debate that goes hand in hand with the human testing of new drugs to discover a cure for these diseases and make them financially available to 3rd world countries.

AT: It does deal with some very heavy issues – what do you think is the most important message in this piece?

“When does a life become more important than your budget?”

AT: Are you more inclined to direct straight theatre or music theatre? Or do you like to mix it up?

So far I have directed more music theatre than straight theatre, and I have to say coming into this process I was a little unstable without the intrinsic structure that music provides to a story. But after beginning work on the floor with the actors (Glenda Linscott and Blessing Mokgohloa), I very quickly realised that the music is still there, it’s just sung in a different way, and the melody very quickly soars once we’ve navigated our way through the story and located the twists and turns.

AT: What do you enjoy about working at Chapel off Chapel?

Chapel off Chapel is a fantastic venue for a production of this size – there are actually very few appropriate venues around Melbourne, surprisingly, for smaller scale theatre that still requires all the technical bells and whistles of a larger venue. Chapel have made us feel very at home and managed to accommodate our ever changing demands, they have a fabulous team of staff there, and it really does feel like you’re welcome whenever you walk through the door. We are about to start our technical week this week, so the fun is still to come, but I have no doubt we will achieve our goals for this production, and a large part of that is thanks to this wonderful venue.

Bad Blood Blues will open at Chapel off Chapel’s The Loft Theatre from the 11th November 2011 for a three week run.

15 Shows only, Friday 11th – Saturday 26th November 2011
Adult: $45 Concession $39
Book at or ph: 8290 7000

Chris Parker is a WAAPA Graduate and is no stranger to both sides of the performance spectrum. He has starred as Sky in Mama Mia (2002), Bobby Childs in Crazy for You (State Theatre, Melbourne), toured nationally with David Williamson’s play The Club, created the role of Alec for the World premiere of Sideshow Alley, and in 2005 was nominated for “Best Newcomer” by the Sydney Theatre Awards for his performance in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Summer Rain. From a ‘creative’ perspective, Parker was the Resident Director on the Australian touring production of Avenue Q, and the Assistant Director for both Cabaret and John and Jen, working alongside Terrence O’Connell. Chris also worked with Gary Young on The Production Company’s production of Mame, and was the Director of the Australian premiere production of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World in 2001.


Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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