Crow’s Theatre presents The Castleton Massive Production
Created by Torquil Campbell and Chris Abraham, in collaboration with Julian Brown
The birth of True Crime!
Torquil Campbell has been obsessed with “true crime TV” since he was a teenager. He preferred to stay home and watch Unsolved Mysteries, Dateline or 48 Hours rather than go out.
When Torquil read that Clark Rockefeller was arrested for kidnapping his daughter in 2009, he recognized him as the man he’d seen on a 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. At that time, Rockefeller was going by the name of Christopher Chichester and was wanted in connection to the disappearance of two people from California.
When Torquil found a photo of Clark in a Vanity Fair article, the similarities between the two men were shocking. He told CBC, “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, and that's what my family is! [laughs] We look alike, and we wear the same kind of glasses, and we have the same tastes in things … the similarities started to get really eerie. And I started to think, ‘What would it be like if I tried to become this guy?’”
In another interview, the Toronto Star writes, “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---.’”
Critical response to True Crime:
“polished and even virtuosic” - Globe and Mail
“It’s a good piece of work that he [Campbell] and his director, Chris Abraham, have come up with: vivid and very funny at points, and his performance of it is astonishing. He can be hilarious, in modes silky or self-deprecating. He can be frighteningly angry. He can be just as frighteningly lost. He can do any number of different voices. He is, consistently, charming.” - National Post
“a funny, engaging raconteur and performer as well as a talented writer” - NOW Toronto
“What makes this show so very smart and entertaining is the way Campbell draws you into a web of stories and constantly keeps you guessing about what you can and can’t believe.” - Toronto Star
Torquil talks True Crime with CBC …
“Certainly, this play is making me ask myself a bunch of troubling questions about why I'm doing this.”
"I think Rockefeller just might be an artist, and that really frightens me."
I do feel trepidation about that [using real people to create art]. And to a certain degree, that's what the play has ended up being about. 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.”
"I love the romance of crime" — that's a Morrissey lyric, and I remember hearing that and I was like, ‘Yeah, me too!’ 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.”
Did you know?
Torquil has been a professional actor since childhood and is also the front man for Stars, a Montreal-based indie music band. Torquil subsidized his early days with Stars by taking bit parts on Law & Order and Sex and the City.
Torquil comes by his acting chops honestly. His father, Douglas Campbell, was an original Stratford Festival member, gracing that stage for over 50 years, and his mother is actress Moira Wylie.
Torquil’s wife is Moya O'Connell, a regular Shaw Festival actor, and his sister, Beatrice Campbell, is a Stage Manager there as well.