by michelle w. on May 15, 2013
DAILY PROMPT: Interview your favorite fictional character.
The REAL life of PI : An interview with Richard Parker
(featured image courtesy of fineartamerica.com)
It’s not everyday that you get to meet one of the most famous literary characters in history. Let alone a tiger with an Englishman’s name.
Richard Parker is notoriously late for interviews that he hardly gives in any case. The Trash Bash has been granted such a pleasure, meeting at the legendary New York Zoo were he was in town for the eagerly anticipated musical JUNGLE BOOK! , the London West End hit newly transferred to Broadway. He of course reprising his Olivier award-winning role as Shere Khan and hoping to draw the same accolade with US critics, and perhaps a nod from a little thing called the Tony’s. Today he’s accompanied by a young handler called Betty.
Trash Bash (TB) : Thanks for taking time out to meet with us Mr Parker, you’re not the easiest character to track down!
Richard Parker (RP): (Stretching)
Betty (B): Call him Richard, he prefers Richard.
TB: Oh, sorry. Richard, thank you. So, one book, a film and now the stage. Is there anything this tiger can’t do?
RP: (licks his paw incessantly, breaking only to look up at me briefly then back to his paw)
B: He’s just happy to be working out of a boat.
TB: Right, right. Yeah so about that, Life of Pi, what an amazing thing to have been apart of, best seller all over the wo-
RP: (gets up and walks off)
TB: Er…did, whats wrong?
B: Can we not, talk about that book – he suffered pretty bad PTS afterwards, it’s still a bit hard to talk about it.
TB: But – um, its like the only thing he’s done…ok…
B: yeah, thanks, I’ll go talk him into coming back.
RP: (Stalks towards me, his extremely large paw flops out between the bars)
TB: So, Mr Parker
TB: Richard, sorry. I think its safe to say you are one of the most ambitious and successful tigers out there. What made you get into this industry?
RP: (stands tall and roars at me)
B: (Chuckles) Montecore, of Siegfried and Roy fame, Macavity of William Blake and of course, Tony the Tiger from Kelloggs… and Ang Lee. Ang is such a good guy, I still call him up every week – he’s a good guy.
TB: wow, an impressive list of predecessors there. How have you tried to emulate their successes, arguably you’ve surpassed them in many ways.
RP: (rolls onto his back and roars)
B: Thank you.
TB: Quite alright; Montecore will forever be known for mauling Roy, has that stigma affected you and the way people perceive working with you.?
RP: (Still on his back. Roars and growls)
B: Yes, it can be challenging. You know what they say, a tiger never changes its stripes –
TB: I think you mean a Chee – never-mind.
B: – but you know, I am what I am. Take it or leave it, I can’t paint myself black and call myself a Panther. I’m no Tigger, and I can’t pretend that these teeth and these paws can’t kill you in an instant –
RP: (Roars more)
B: Ok, yeah – so I’m a natural-born killer, and yeah – sometimes, I’m thinking about pouncing on you and ripping you to shreds but y’know sometimes, I’m not. Tit for tat.
TB: Yeah, totally. So moving on; London, you really made an impact on the West End stage recently, sweeping at almost every theatre awards there, the critics and the audience love the show, and it seems it’s set to do the same here on Broadway –
RP: (bobs his head, roars.)
B: I can’t tell you how much I love London. I lived there for 4 years in captivity at the London Zoo. I had a blast. Aside from the weather it was non stop, and you know, the people were so accommodating This time round, doing the show, it was a dream come true. It’s such a big part of my cub-hood, I lived for Shere Khan.
TB: But the stage ? – Such a leap from what you’ve done before, I mean what drew you to it?
B: I’d seen Lion King there and I knew I loved it, you know? But I was kind of disappointed that real animals weren’t approached to play the parts. I just think it’s important that those of us who are struggling already, are given a chance to represent. Theres so much real animal talent out there. Puppets need not apply, (laughs) am I right?
TB: Mmm. Yes. So how did you prepare for the part of Shere Khan?
RP: (Looks behind him, then back to his paws, begins to lick)
B: He’s not into that question,
TB: Ok. What’s up next now you’ve conquered the stage?
RP: (lifts his leg, proceeds to clean himself)
B: He’s not into that question.