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June 17, 2019

Calgary Artist Christian Goutsis Talks Laundry, Hockey and Michael J. Fox

Christian Goutsis is a busy guy. With the staged reading of his new play, “Laundry Day,” running as part of Lunchbox Theatre’s Suncor Energy Stage One Festival of New Work, the director, producer, composer, sound designer and award-winning actor can add playwright to his resume. We chat with Goutsis about…

Christian Goutsis is a busy guy. With the staged reading of his new play, “Laundry Day,” running as part of Lunchbox Theatre’s Suncor Energy Stage One Festival of New Work, the director, producer, composer, sound designer and award-winning actor can add playwright to his resume.

We chat with Goutsis about laundry, Michael J. Fox, hockey and becoming a new dad.

In the synopsis of “Laundry Day” you write, “if you want a clean slate, you have to start with clean clothes.” Is that a rule you live by?

I think that’s a good place to start. I wanted the play to happen in a laundromat and I wanted the main character, Alex, to want a clean start in his life and I thought of course that has to start with his clothes. I think if you want to have a good day you start by wearing your best underwear and it might as well be clean. Clean underwear is a good place to start anew.

What’s laundry day like in your house?

It’s non-stop because I have a baby now. Seriously, it’s 24/7 laundry. Before that I was like Alex, he lets it pile up. That was my old laundry habit I’d let it pile up to ridiculous heights and then take a full weekend to do it, but not anymore.

Do you separate your colours from your whites?

No way. I’m pretty bold that way, I just chuck it all in.

Are the kooky characters in “Laundry Day” based on real people?

The plays absurd and silly and there’s a lot of crazy characters. There are definitely aspects of my family. The character of “Papou” is based on my grandpa in some ways, but it’s stretched to ridiculous proportions. It’s poking fun at a bit of the machismo I’ve certainly seen in my family.

Has becoming a father influenced your creative process?

My son is only 10 months old, but it has actually. I’m directing kids at a school in Airdrie right now and I treat them differently. I expect a lot from young performers and I like to challenge them but I notice I love them way more. It’s a different awareness.

How does your experience as an actor influence your writing?

I try to act out every part. I try to have a distinct voice for each of the characters. So if I’m playing “Papou” I think what would I do, how would I say it? I put myself on stage. I approach everything with an actor’s brain.

If you didn’t have a job in the creative arts what would you do?

In an alternate universe I’d be a really awesome hockey player. It would be nice to be the star left-winger for the Calgary Flames. Or maybe a plumber or an electrician, something hands-on where I could see the results of my work.

Who would play you in a play about your life?

You mean if I auditioned and didn’t get it? My dream person would be Michael J. Fox. I loved him growing up. He’s handsome and he’s good. He’d play me well.

Without theatre life would….

My initial instinct is life would go on. [laughs]

I am inspired by…

Honesty.

My perfect day entails…

Laughter.

Do you ever laugh at your own jokes?

Oh yeah! I think I’m super hilarious. No one laughs at my jokes like I do.

The Suncor Energy Stage One Festival of New Work presents free public readings of new plays June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 at Lunchbox Theatre (160, 115 9 Ave. S.E.). Catch “Laundry Day” on June 21 at 12:10 p.m.

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