Skip to main content Skip to footer
Dynamic Duo

Disco Pigs Stars Colin Campbell & Evanna Lynch Talk Strange First Impressions, Intense Pre-Show Rituals, & Audience Interactions

January 22nd, 2018 by

irish_rep irishrep Share
Disco Pigs Stars Colin Campbell & Evanna Lynch Talk Stran...

Enda Walsh’s disturbing, fascinating breakthrough drama Disco Pigs is back in NYC at Irish Rep for a 20th anniversary revival that won acclaim from critics and audiences alike. A hit first in London, the two-hander stars Colin Campbell & Evanna Lynch (who Harry Potter fans know as the films' Luna Lovegood), and the pair gives electrifying performances as Pig and Runt, two best friends and soulmates celebrating their joint 17th birthday. BroadwayBox caught up with the dynamic duo to learn about their first impressions of each other, what they were like at 17, and how they prepare for this full-out, 75-minute rollercoaster.

Disco Pigs off Broadway Colin Campbell Evanna Lynch Revival

Photo by Jeremy Daniel



What was your first impression of your costar?

Colin:
We first met in London to have our photo taken for the poster. If you haven't seen it, it's a picture of Evy looking off into the distance, while I have my nose in her face. Evy had flown in from LA, which is about an 11-hour flight, and came straight from the airport. So, my first impression was, ‘how is she awake and pleasant?’ and ‘she smells pretty good, all things considered.’ That's going to sound creepy. Oh, well.

Evanna:
Colin struck me as super shy the first day we met. We were shooting the promo shots, nose to cheek which is an awkward position for any strangers with Irish-Catholic sensibilities to find themselves in but he really seemed ill at ease with me all up in his personal space. John and Tara (director and producer, respectively) had raved about his work and energy on stage but on first encounter I did wonder was this polite and mild-mannered fella mad enough to play Pig. Turns out he is a dark horse with a very twisted sense of humour that he reveals once you’ve earned his trust. And it’s so very worth earning.


What’s it like to perform a two-hander? What are the challenges and rewards?

Colin:
I can't speak for other two handers but Disco Pigs has been wonderful. We get to act, in a great play, in New York! I'm in dreamland. At this point, we are well used to doing the show so it’s just a matter of being concentrated and reminding yourself people are seeing it for the first time so give it everything. The show is the reward. That's a bit cringy but it's true. Acting is fun.

Evanna:
I find the fact of Disco Pigs being a two hander it perfectly accentuates and compliments the nature of the characters’ relationship. I’ve often felt a lot of anxiety, a lot of nerves and pressure delving into this work and the only person I can turn to for support, who truly gets it and is experiencing it too, can meet me where I’m at and tell me ‘we got this’ is Colin. Everyone else is slightly on the outside and it creates this codependent, symbiotic, totally trusting bond. There have been moments where we’re both stressed or exhausted or elated and just looking across the stage at someone who is processing all that too emboldens me each night. The hardest part of the show for me is the very beginning when we’re looking out to the audience and the words are tumbling out loud and fast and sometimes I feel out of control and I have no idea what will happen. And then as soon as we fall out onto stage and lock eyes I feel calm because I know the only way through the show is to cling to each other and surrender to the fact that if one of us goes down we both do and, to me, there is something so deeply comforting about that knowledge.


What’s your pre-show like?

Colin:
We get on stage about an hour and a half before a show. Physical and vocal warm ups, fight call and maybe look at anything we want to sharpen from the previous show. That brings us up to the half hour. Get in to costume. Rotate between looking at the play, my phone, the clock and using the bathroom. When places are called, we step out of our dressing rooms. I ask Evy if she has her lipstick. She asks me if I have my lighter. When we have both, we go and play.

Evanna:
High cardio! Our movement coach, Naomi Said, devised a workout and vocal warmup that we know so well by now that we barely have to communicate to decide what to do next. I sort of use it as practice to sync up with Colin’s movements as we do on stage and to practice the wordless language Pig and Runt have to decide what their next move is. I’m sure Colin is totally doing his own thing though. And then I go to my dressing room and tell myself positive affirmations in the mirror which sometimes have the opposite effect and make me nervous. But I’ve committed to enjoying shows now and that I can only show up and give 100% and whatever happens, happens. I read something on Glennon Doyle’s blog a few days ago that helped me a lot. She said before she goes onstage she says, ‘God, I showed up, now it’s your turn.’ So I’ve started saying that to deflect all responsibility because it’s usually when I’m trying super, super hard and anticipating messing up that I do just that. Most of my warmup is about surrender. And then Colin and I meet in the hallway, grab hands before we go out, check each other has their respective props and head on.


What do you laugh over most off stage?

Colin:
Awkward silences and farts. An awkward silence interrupted by a fart and I'm done. The reverse is funny too.

Evanna:
The audience members who really were not having it. Part of the show is that we’ve to make direct eye contact with audience members and say full lines to them and sometimes you’ll lock eyes with an elderly gentleman who clearly loathes you and the filth you’re spewing, or a horrified child in Hogwarts robes whose parents clearly didn’t check the show rating and you just have to hold that gaze and commit. To be honest, laughing about those uncomfortable exchanges is necessary to keep from crying.


What was the most memorable part of the London run?

Colin:
I moved over from Dublin to do it so anytime friends or family came it was pretty special. First preview was cool too. Looking at each other backstage wondering what an audience will make of it all is very exciting.

Evanna:
It was probably the night J.K. Simmons popped in without any of us knowing. There’s a point in the play where I jump on the TV and look out across the audience and I distinctly remember locking eyes with a man and my brain going, ‘ha! That man looks uncannily like J.K. Simmons but it is obviously not him’. Some precious, self preservational impulse kicked in and blocked me from recognising him and I am so glad of that because it might have thrown me. I completely forgot I’d thought I’d seen him and then we went upstairs to stage door and JK and his family had come by to say hello. It was very cool and he and his family were so kind and I feel a little bit bad that I babbled so much that Colin didn’t really get a word in edgeways. He’s an incredible actor and made zero fuss about attending, just showed up and passed on his regards without any prompts. Another memorable night was when I thought I saw my childhood school crush in the front row and I spent the whole performance in a state of mild anxiety about what I would say to him after. It turned out not to be him. Your mind can do some wild gymnastics in the heat of performance, it’s kind of amazing.


What was your 17 birthday like?

Colin:
Probably a non-event. I usually hide so no one can make a fuss.

Evanna:
From what I remember I was on the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. They had a cake and it was Bill and Fleur’s wedding so everyone was already really dressed up and it felt very special as a result. They all sang happy birthday as I tried to hide my face and then we got back to work.


What were you like at that age?

Colin:
I was in my final year of school so probably extremely awkward and wondering what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life.

Evanna:
By 17 I had lost all patience with the teenage experience. I looked down on other teenagers and was scathing of the peer pressure. I felt like I was just killing time until I could get out of school and really become who I wanted to be. I was more infatuated with my English and art teachers than any teenage boy, and I would spend ages slaving over essays that were less about scoring good grades and more about winning the attention and admiration of those teachers. I so desperately wanted to be a muse. This was also the age I developed an intense obsession with the novel, Lolita, and became infatuated with the idea of an older, wiser, cultured man who would be my artistic soulmate. If ever I did develop a crush on a boy of my age I was cold, aloof and tried to overwhelm him with my literary knowledge and wit (though I wasn’t very witty) and could never fathom why the boys I liked always took up with very superficial girls. In retrospect, I was a bit of a snob, a defiant weirdo and I was deeply suspicious and fearful that people only liked me because of my Harry Potter credentials. I kept teenagers at arm’s length as a result and preferred books to people.


What do you hope NYC audiences come away from Disco Pigs with?

Colin:
I don't know. That it was worth leaving the couch? That's setting the bar pretty high. Couches are great.

Evanna:
I hope they still believe in romance. I hope we can renew their faith in soulmates. That may sound counter-intuitive if you’ve seen the end of the play but to me Disco Pigs is a very beautiful, vivid, dreamy portrayal of what it feels like to have a person who knows and loves you to your core, and I hope they will honour and protect those relationships. I would expand on this but I don’t want to spoil the play more than I have.

Don't miss Colin Campbell & Evanna Lynch in Disco Pigs at off-Broadway's Irish Rep through March 4.