FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MEDIA RELEASE
Obsessed with the Anzac story from a young age, comedian Damian Callinan’s childhood penchant for acting out the Battle of Lone Pine in his backyard manifests itself in adulthood as he trawls war histories for any personal connection to the Anzac story. This often sees him circumnavigating regional war memorials in search of Diggers bearing his name. Finding a WW1 diary in a Warrnambool op shop, he is instantly captivated. The diary of Private Paddy Callinan opens up a world of questions -could this be the mysterious digger his family never speak of? In a show that has been described as Who Do You Think You Are meets An Equally Relevant Comparison, Damian brings the pages’ characters to life at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival and finds it’s a long way to Tipperary without a GPS.
Having read both academic histories and personal diaries, Damian prefers learning from the view of someone living the history. “The diaries I’ve read are full of opinion and critique on the big issues,” he says. “Class bigotry, military blunders, British rule and views on conscription… As well as being full of the minutiae of military life, they are also an early form of travel writing. Some had never been aboard before and marveled at the new world, but also constantly compared it to the homeland they missed.”
The idea of the diary being possibly written by one of his relatives gives an opportunity to personally reflect on Australians at war. “I’m an early Gen-Exer,” he says. “My father served in WW2 as did his brother. I can remember as a small boy being at home alone with mum as she listened to the Vietnam War conscription ballot on the radio and waited to hear my brother’s birth date. It wasn’t called out and mum sobbed with relief. I grew up fully expecting that one day I would fight in a war and it terrified me, which I think fed my interest in the subject. I’m a compromised pacifist.”
Damian says the show’s stories will focus on Paddy and his close-knit bunch of Digger mates, who the audience will get to know and love. “Amongst his ‘Push’ are Stan, whose ability to talk is considered a potential weapon that could hasten the end of the war; Seamus, a bafflingly unfunny Irishman and Bill, a surprisingly early advocate for gay marriage,” he says. “Their antics will spin a different version of actual events, such as finding Hitler’s crap artwork in a captured German trench, dressing up in a donkey suit with Simpson as a lark and a lone digger being left behind after the Gallipoli evacuation.”
As we journey through Paddy’s four years at war the audience will be asking themselves – will he survive? Will his mates survive? Will his opinions get him into trouble? Will he get all his souvenirs home? Will he run out of pages?
Damian Callinan is an award-winning stand-up comic, TV sketch show performer, broadcaster, actor and writer. Best known for his TV appearances on Skithouse and Before the Game, he was also a regular on Spicks and Specks and is a well-recognised voice from his in-studio visits to 774 ABC Melbourne. A three-time Barry Award nominee, Damian has a swag of awards and recognition such as the Piece of Wood Award, The Edinburgh Foreign Exchange Award and has twice been the recipient of The Moosehead Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Damian can also be currently seen starring in Backyard Ashes, fulfilling a lifetime ambition of shooting a film in Wagga Wagga. A movie version of his Barry Award nominated show The Merger is also currently in pre-production.
Don’t miss Damian Callinan’s 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan. TICKETS ON SALE NOW.
Tuesday to Sunday 27 March – 20th April 2014 (excluding 8,9 & 10 of April)
9.45pm nightly (8.45pm Sundays) | Previews Friday 27th March 2014
ACMI [Studio], MELBOURNE VIC
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Tickets: $30 (full) | $25 (conc) | $20 (group 6+)
Tickets: Previews $20 | Tight-arse Tuesday $20