En Route: Callisto: A Queer Epic

3 fantastic new plays are transferring from the Edinburgh Fringe to Arcola Theatre next month, as part of our EH to E8 season. Artistic director and performer Emma D’Arcy and director Thomas Bailey tell us more about Callisto: A Queer Epic which opens 18 October.

Briefly, what’s Callisto about?
ED: It’s four interweaving LGBTQ love stories from across time. We travel from the first gay marriage in seventeenth-century London to a story about artificial intelligence and queerness set on the moon in the twenty-third century.

Without giving too much away, what might people find surprising or unusual about the show?
TB: Maybe its scope!? Howard has crafted this big mythology, but it’s made up of characters you care very much about on an individual level.
ED: And how funny it is!

What were rehearsals like? Any particularly funny bits?
TB: Rehearsals were great — a bit like rehearsing four different plays for the first two weeks. The real joy came when we brought the four stories together; actors could share their work with each other and, as we let the stories interweave and overlap, we could finally see that Callisto is even more than the sum of its parts.
ED: There’s one scene… known only as the ‘porn scene’… which is such a painfully funny piece of writing that we barely got through any rehearsals of it. I grin just thinking about it.

You’ve just been living in Edinburgh for a month. What was your favourite moment?
ED: Ah – we saw so many great great shows. FK Alexander’s I could go on singing, Hot Brown Honey, Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat. Incredible queer performers and work. The favourite moment probably came during one of those shows: falling into FK’s eyes surrounded by noise and strobes as she sang right at you; the genius and subversive ‘Doubting Thomas’ moment in Triple Threat (going to Soho next year); a cast member’s unsuspecting dad getting singled out by Hot Brown Honey‘s Busty Beatz.

How are you feeling about doing the show in London? Will it be different at the Arcola?
TB: As we’re the last show in the EH to E8 season, Howard is seizing the chance to turn the script — totalling 75 minutes in Edinburgh — into the full-length play it always should have been. So we’re back in rehearsals full-time from next week!
ED: I think we learnt a lot during its run in Edinburgh. So many ideas that will finally be able to happen – we want Callisto to explode.

If you had to sum up your experience of doing Callisto in one word, what would it be?
ED: Huge.
TB: Massive.

Callisto: A Queer Epic plays at Arcola from 18th to 22nd October 2016. Tickets are just £17 (£14 concessions). Read more / book now