back to interviews
- The Two-Headed Roommate in the Stage Write Series at Theatre Aquarius
VIEW Magazine - January 1998
by Kerry Corrigan
They eat your peanut butter, they leave their dirty dishes, and they bring home, and discard, dates that you'd die for. For anyone who has ever suffered the vagaries and inconvenience of shared accommodation, The Two-Headed Roommate brings it all back with hilarious insight.
Mike Shara plays the traumatized, hyper-active Guy, in this one-man, one-act monologue, now playing until January 24 in the intimate setting of the Studio Theatre at Theatre Aquarius, (soon to be re-named the Peter Mandia Theatre, after TA's founder).
Playwright Bruce McCulloch admits he’s had various two-headed roommates. “It’s about a time years ago, moving to Toronto and having a revolving door of roommates. Not just the idea of sharing a place with someone, (but) the notion of sharing air with people, of living in society, which is what the whole piece ends up being about.”
When I caught up with McCulloch for a telephone interview recently, he was relaxed and forthcoming, and started pranking on me immediately, accusing me of wanting to use the speaker phone so that my roommates could listen in.
Asked how he felt having his work produced, without having input into the production, he admitted: “I sort of like it. People send these little messages out into the world and then they’re picked up by someone like Neil Foster, who’s the director and who’s a super cool guy, and he goes, ‘I want to get my hands on this and do it.’
“I always consider myself a writer first anyway, so it’s not strange at all. There’s something almost more flattering about seeing someone do something that you wrote and making it work, than making it work yourself.
“Like if I gave Scott Thompson a line for (his Kid’s In The Hall character) Buddy Cole and to see that work, that was more exciting than having my own joke work.”
He’s actually pleased by the thought of enjoying dinner in Toronto, or some other city, and knowing his work is going on in Hamilton.
He’ll try to make it to a performance of The Two-Headed Roommate, asserting with a laugh, “I’ve been to the Hammer many times! I’ve done Yuks Yuks!”
Bruce McCulloch is, of course, known primarily as one of the five members of The Kids In The Hall, the Canadian troupe whose sketch comedy show of the same name broke new ground on television. Starting out on HBO and eventually moving to CBC, The Kids In The Hall ran from 1989 to 1994, and reruns still air on the Comedy Network.
Combining Monty Python’s penchant, and talent, for cross-dressing with a social mimicking that ranged from the bizarre to the surreal, The Kids In The Hall are the latest in a long tradition of Canadian comedians who have mastered the art of sketch comedy.
Whether it was alien abductors or jaded streetwalkers, the Kids took characters from the fringes of society and found some common, even mundane, connection or else they were regular guys, card players and businessmen, who revealed bent and hilarious quirks about themselves. These characters, often innocent but underscored with a wicked streak, were recognizable and yet entirely original and irreverent.
McCulloch was the best at playing the shy nerd, a master of the dead-pan delivery that made it impossible to ever take him seriously, like when he turned up as Diana's fiancee in the Anne of Green Gables sequel.
Currently he’s in the last weeks of editing Dog Park, a feature film he wrote and directed using the skills he picked up directing shorts on the Kids In The Hall series and short films for Saturday Night Live.
He describes Dog Park as “a romantic comedy about people putting their love into their dogs, and one couple’s custody battle for their dog, a border collie who has been traumatized by seeing them have sex.”
It stars Natasha Henstridge and Janeane Garofalo, and features Hamilton native Kathleen Robertson, a 90210 alumnus who Bruce describes as “fantastic, she’s so fun, she’s great”. Mark McKinney and McCulloch also appear in the movie.
Other projects include playing talk-show host Rex Riley on Twitch City, Bruce MacDonald’s upcoming six-part TV series and writing a half-hour pilot, Welcome to Trilex.
He toured out west last year in his play Slightly Bigger Cities, based out of a theatre company called One Yellow Rabbit run by an old buddy in his hometown of Calgary.
Writing, performing, directing and editing keeps McCulloch busy, and the ubiquitous entertainer has given up his place in Los Angeles, but still visits regularly. He’s living in Toronto full-time, “because I realize I’m a Canadian, and I like being here”.
Does he miss Kids In The Hall? “I do miss it. I more miss working with the guys and the energy of lots of people. We see each other and we always talk about doing stuff. We almost did a live tour in the summer but then it didn’t work out ’cause the schedules got too freaky. Maybe this spring we’ll do something, it’s something we always talk about.”
He comments that putting together A Kids In The Hall tour would be a major military manoeuvre, with the original members now diffused into so many different cities, but it’s an idea that they like.
They better not share hotel rooms, though.
// tie dye