Montreal, December 13th, 2018 – Torquil Campbell, frontman for the indie band, Stars, returns to his theatre roots with True Crime, playing at Centaur Theatre from January 8 to 27, 2019, aptly concurrent with Centaur’s Wildside Festival. Torquil’s twisted tale of an exceptional con man, and the seductive allure of slipping into the skin of a criminal, was co-created with Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director, Chris Abraham, in collaboration with Julian Brown.
“Art imitates life imitates true crime.”
– Toronto Star
As a teenager Torquil was obsessed with true crime reality TV. In 2009, when he read that Clark Rockefeller was arrested for kidnapping his own daughter, Torquil recognized him as Christopher Chichester from an old episode of Unsolved Mysteries in which Chichester was wanted in connection with the disappearance of two people.
“In a time where, according to Campbell, ‘we have been beset by sociopathic liars … whether they be radio hosts or presidents,’ it’s his intention to make audiences examine our own complicity in their success. ‘Liars only get to lie if there are people around buying their bulls**t.’”
– Toronto Star
Born in Germany as Christian Gerhartsreiter and currently serving a near-life sentence in a California State prison, the brazen Rockefeller imposter has much in common with Torquil, including a penchant for Patricia Highsmith’s novels about con artist extraordinaire, the talented Mr. Ripley. Torquil admitted, “When I saw the pictures of him [Rockefeller] I immediately noticed that we bore a resemblance to each other and I started to realize that a lot of what he had been trying to do for a long time was impersonate someone quite a lot like myself — he was trying to be an effete East Coast preppy WASP! We look alike, we wear the same kind of glasses, we have the same tastes in things … the similarities started to get eerie. And that got me wondering, ‘What would it be like if I tried to become this guy?’”
“a funny, engaging raconteur and performer as well as a talented writer”
– NOW Toronto
Morrissey’s song lyric, “I love the romance of crime” strikes a chord with Torquil who explained, “I love the transgression; I love the moment when someone decides to do something terrible. I think Crime and Punishment is the first true-crime book, in a way. It wasn’t true, but it explored that notion of ‘I’m just an ordinary person living an ordinary life and I could just go and kill someone. What would happen if I did? What invisible veil would I pierce, and what would be the consequences of that?’ Someone like Rockefeller, he walked through that veil, and everything changed. I think he’s a monstrous person and I wouldn’t want him in my life but there’s a kind of fearlessness in walking through that veil that I find intriguing.”
“I think Rockefeller just might be an artist, and that really frightens me.”
– Torquil Campbell
Chris Abraham shared that when Torquil introduced him to the Rockefeller story and did his impersonation of Clark, “I knew instantly that I wanted to get involved. There is a bizarre connection between Torquil and Clark that the play explores. I encouraged him to begin a correspondence with Rockefeller and to deal with the real person not just what was written about him. I couldn’t have been more surprised by where things went from there. This is definitely one of the weirder art projects I’ve been involved with.”
“For fans of the Torquil from Stars, Campbell sings the occasional original tune, too – including one he claims to have co-written with his criminal muse and doppelganger”
– Globe and Mail
Eda Holmes, Centaur Theatre’s Artistic and Executive Director, said, “Torquil plays a mind-bending shell game with the truth to take audiences on the wildest ride of their lives leaving them bewildered, exhilarated and wondering, ‘What just happened and can we do it again?’ He is a master storyteller, from a family of storytellers, examining the nature of celebrity. His labyrinthine encounter with an artist obsessed with an artist obsessed with faking it, challenges us to seek the truth and to distinguish, if we can, the line between an intricate con and a masterful piece of art.”
“The artist is looked upon as a pretty benevolent force in the world, but the source from which art springs is often quite malevolent, selfish and dark.”
– Torquil Campbell
Though Torquil is known throughout Canada as the Stars’ lead singer, he started his performing career as an actor. He comes by it honestly through his late father, Douglas Campbell, a 50-year veteran of the Stratford Festival, and his mother Moira Wylie, an actress and director. His sister is a long-time stage manager and his wife Moya O’Connell is a veteren Shaw Festival company member. Campbell worked as a professional stage actor in New York in venues including the Lincoln Centre and The Public Theatre, and starred in an off-Broadway production of Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and F**king, with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
For those who can’t wait until January for a Torquil fix, catch him with Stars at l’Astral on December 16, 2018.
Centaur Theatre Company
The Castleton Massive Production presented by Crow’s Theatre
Written by Torquil Campbell and Chris Abraham
In collaboration with Julian Brown
January 8 to 27, 2019
Design Consultant/Production Manager Remington North
Assistant Director Marie Farsi
Designer and Acting Production Stage Manager Geoffrey Armour
Tickets & Info: www.centaurtheatre.com/true-crime