Online Shenanigans For Celine and Justin at Rogue Theatre Festival

Australian playwright Kieran Carroll

Australian playwright Kieran Carroll presents his 10 minute work, Celine and Justin, this Friday, December 11th at the Rogue Theatre Festival, and is interviewed here by festival founder, Allison Hohman. The play delves into the criminal and lonely online behavior of those seeking money and those seeking sex. Celine is a young Asian man pretending to be a Canadian lingerie model. In his searches for money and credit card details he meets Justin, a lonely middle-aged guy. Their conversation enters a world of sexual fantasies and proposed meetings until Celine finds Justin hard to negotiate with when trying to extract money from him.

Allison Hohman: Where did you get the inspiration for writing your piece? Kieran Carroll: I often write short plays at low times or when I’m on a break from a larger work, or struggling with a work and not sure where to turn. The inspiration for the piece came from various stories of sex scamming I’d read and heard about over the years.

Allison Hohman: What is your writing process? When inspiration strikes? One hour a day? Kieran Carroll: I like writing in the mornings and getting early starts these days. The most important things for me seem to be constancy, not letting the work drift for too long, facing it even when you don’t feel like it and not being too overwhelmed by fears of it going nowhere.

Allison Hohman: How did you first get involved with theater and becoming a playwright? Kieran Carroll: I began in the early 2000s in Melbourne, Australia. After spending the 90s writing poems, I changed forms and began writing monologues and eventually longer works. A Masters in Playwriting I did in 2006 and 2007 really focused me and I’ve been going steadily ever since. It’s been a long learning curve. Many of the early productions were done on shoestring budgets and gradually these types of stumbling blocks have improved.

Allison Hohman: What do you love about this piece and what will others love about it? Kieran Carroll: It’s X Rated! And that was a punt I have not taken before. The audience will feel as if they are entering the dark web. They will hopefully enjoy the scandalous humour amongst the sad and tawdry aspects of this type of behaviour the two characters force upon one another.

Allison Hohman: How important do you think it is for theatre festivals to offer opportunities for new or up and coming playwrights? Kieran Carroll: A festival such as The Rogue Theater Festival is really helping to keep our spirits up at such a difficult time. The director of my play ‘Celine and Justin’, Stephen Cedars, also recently collaborated on a piece of mine for the Marsh International Solo Fest in San Francisco. It’s

important to stay active, committed and not be despondent. We must keep up the hope the theatres will come alive again.

Allison Hohman: Have you participated in theater festivals before? What was that experience like? What has your experience with Rogue Theater Festival been? IKieran Carroll: ’ve had a number of short works performed in America since 2015. It has added a new and refreshing element to my practice. With The Rogue Theater Festival the experience has been different because the play was filmed for streaming on December 11t​ h​. This is a first for me. The festival has been so professional and supportive and well-organized in every aspect.

Allison Hohman: How has the rehearsal and performance process differed now in Covid times vs. regular times? Kieran Carroll: The play has appeared in New York once before in 2019. Stephen and the actors – Tom Burka and Chris Paul Morales – zoomed in with each other, had one face to face (mask to mask!) rehearsal and then the play was filmed. Given I’m in Australia, this is not so different, other than more time would have been spent in a rehearsal room for the three of them.

Allison Hohman: If you weren’t a playwright, what would you be doing? Kieran Carroll: Probably an English teacher. Maybe a social/community worker.

Allison Hohman: Any advice for aspiring playwrights? Kieran Carroll: Reading plays as well as watching them. Good structures take a long time to learn as does learning about wordiness. It’s a hard form and one must also find contemporaries that you like and enjoy working with. It can be brutal at the beginning when people want to rip pages out of your play! It still can be!

Allison Hohman: What’s up next for you? Kieran Carroll: I have a couple of shows that should have been on in Australia around now but have been reshuffled to 2021. One of them: NEWK (The John Newcombe Story) is set to tour extensively across Australia from August 2021.

The cast features Chris Paul Morales (Celine) and Tom Burka (Justin). Directed by Stephen Cedars

About the Playwright

Kieran Carroll is an award-winning Australian playwright who writes dramas, biographical works, adaptations and comedies. He has had twenty-five plays produced in Australia, America and England and has received writing residencies around the world including the prestigious Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. Recent productions include the highly successful Sons of Sun (Sydney Opera House, 2014 – 2018) and In The Mens (La Mama Courthouse, Melbourne, 2017). In 2015, he was a commissioned playwright at Monash University, Melbourne. The commission produced The Truth is Longer Than a Lie, a research play adaptation about domestic child abuse from the non-fiction book of the same name by Dr Neerosh Mudaly. The play was published in November 2015 by Black Pepper Press. From August 2021, his biographical, one man show starring Damian Callinan – NEWK (The John Newcombe Story) will be touring Australia through Jally Entertainment.

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