James Cairns on ‘Dirt’ and the art of the one-man show

From the 15th to the 24th of August, the weird and wonderful mind of James Cairns will inhabit the Golden Arrow Studio at the Baxter Theatre. Cairns is performing his one-man show ‘Dirt’ where he inhabits the soul of three friends and one dog. We caught up with him to pick his brain about what he’s bringing to Cape Town audiences.

Baxter Blog: Where did the inspiration for Dirt come from?
James Cairns: Nick Warren is the writer and the characters and situations are loosely based on a poker school that he was a member of.

BB: What’s the secret to being able to switch effortlessly between characters?
JC: Ninja powers of concentration.

BB: What are the pros of a one man show?
JC: If I fluff my lines, no-one knows except me.

BB: And the cons?
JC: No matter how big the standing ovation, you still have to go back to the dressing room on your own and hi-five yourself. No-one to share the experience with.

BB: What great work did you see at the Grahamstown Festival, if any?
JC: I saw The Feather Collector, which despite uber-crap venue, rose to the occasion admirably. Great stuff, directed by Mongi Nthombeni and starring a cast of young performers who surprised me every step of the way. It was the only thing I stood up for during the whole festival.

BB: What can audience members expect when they come see Dirt?
JC: A robust, hilarious, story about three old friends on their way to
bury a fourth. Great writing, slick performance and a story that talks
to all of us.

BB: When did you last perform in Cape Town?
JC: Last year, September at Kalk Bay, with Dirt, in fact.

BB: Did you once win “Who wants to be a millionaire?”?
JC: I did indeed. Not the million, but nonetheless, a princely sum at that time in my life.

BB: Are you a millionaire?
JC: I am not. It’s all lies…

Dirt is running in the Golden Arrow Studio from the 15th to the 27th of August.