Actor Stephen Papps steps into the Canvas Confession Box
Gluttony is about more than food and drink - but that's how you like to over-indulge?
Gluttony is probably my favourite sin. You know, wine, meat, stroganoff, mushrooms, spinach, chocolate, chicken … I want it all. I can overeat. The reason I'm not fat is that I have employed an enormous tapeworm. The tapeworm has taken over. I am the tapeworm. I've devoured Stephen Papps, I am just doing a very good impression of him.
You're an actor but in recent years you have been doing stand up comedy as well, which sounds terrifying.
Yeah, it's either terrifying or it's exhilarating. Last week I did three nights at The Classic and I had one okay night and then I had a great night and then I had a lousy night. So it was a real mixed bag. You come away scratching your head going, "What? What?" Of course you blame the audience - or at least I do. The material is exactly the same from night to night but even the slightest change in your performance can be the difference between a big laugh and no laugh at all. I am a rookie at this stage, I'm still figuring it out but I love it. Maybe when I was younger, my ego would have been more reliant on having a good show, whereas now I go, "Okay, I am a comedian and this is what I do, it's not who I am." I have a bad night, I shrug it off. Okay, I've got tomorrow night.
What are you trying to convey with your comedy?
My theme is social anxiety. I'm still figuring out the character I'm playing. It's not just me, it's a version of me. I think we have all been shy in social situations, we all find ourselves not speaking out when we should be speaking out, we all hide our anger because we are ashamed of it. I talk about how anger can be really helpful and then proceed to give really bad examples, because it has to be funny, right?
How are you lazy?
I went through the earthquake in Christchurch, the big one and I have become something of a connoisseur of earthquakes. I found myself in Palmerston North lying on the sofa watching telly and a reasonable earthquake came through. I noticed the chandelier swinging a bit and I thought, "You know, this is not worth getting up for. It's not really worth my while." I do beat myself up about spending too long in bed. Morning is the best time to write, especially if you are just coming out of the dream state, so I like to trick myself that I'm not working by writing in bed. I just sit upright and start, once I have gotten over the fact that I am not going back to sleep, because that's always a bit of a blow. It might just be one idea and I might only write for 15 or 20 minutes and then get up and have something to eat and then continue writing.
In Heroes, you are playing a World War I veteran who plots with his buddies to escape their rest home. How do you feel about ageing?
I'm 60 and these guys are in their late-60s, so I am not playing much older than myself but in those times and with what they had been through, they got decrepit at a younger age. My character still has shrapnel in his head and passes out every 10 minutes. I don't feel old. I love life, probably more than I ever have. Hopefully with age wisdom comes into play, although there's no fool like an old fool. I don't see myself as limited although I can't play 30-year-olds anymore, which is annoying. Time is running out. I do think, "Well, what do I want to do?"
Actors don't generally choose greed.
I have to confess I'm not really that greedy. I'd like world domination but it's not really happening for me - too much sloth, I guess. Greed is not my MO, creativity is my MO. Maybe I should manufacture a good healthy dose of greed because I sure could do with the money. As I come to the later stages of my life, that becomes more of a factor; I don't want to be penniless all of the time, although you kind of resign yourself to it. I don't regret what I do. The only regret is not being better with money, so at this late stage I am trying to take care of that aspect of my life. It hasn't taken a foothold.
- Eleanor Black
Kevin Hart: 'My world was forever changed' by crash
'I was being attacked by a demon': Stan Walker on his battle with anxiety
'My husband chose penguins over the birth of our son'
Heroes, starring Stephen Papps, opens on Thursday, November 7 at The PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna.