The God That Comes Interview
The ancient Greco-Roman God Bacchus (also known as Dionysus) is the god of wine and ecstasy. Sounds like our kind of God! And so, we were stoked about the upcoming performance inspired by the party-loving deity. ‘The God That Comes‘ is making its US debut during the Cultural Trust’s third annual Pittsburgh Festival of International Firsts. The show is an original one-man-band cabaret / rock & roll hybrid featuring Canadian rocker Hawksley Workman. Think glam rock Bowie performing a one-man greek tragedy. The plot follows Euripides’ tale of ‘The Bacchae’ in which a hedonistic spiritual revolution inspired by Bacchus takes place under an oppressive king. It promises to be playful, funny, sexy, and hedonistic.
Putting on such an elaborate one-man show may seem like a daunting task, but Workman is used to wearing many hats, as he makes a living as a singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, actor, and published author. He’s released 12 albums in as many years, and is a six time Juno (that’s Canadien for Grammy) nominee and two time winner. And fittingly enough, Workman is not his real name, but certainly captures his busy lifestyle! We had a chance to interview him about his upcoming Pittsburgh debut.
Laney Boggs: What makes ‘The God That Comes’ unlike any cabaret audiences have seen before?
Hawksley Workman: Well I think we have the advantage of living in a time when most folks could say in all honesty, that they’ve never seen a cabaret. It’s a one man show, with many instruments and voices, and textures. It’s like a soapbox racer ride, you get on at the top of the hill with no chance of getting off till you’re at the bottom.
LB: Is it correct to assume that you personally relate to the Bacchus character more than the King?
HW: To be honest, I’d say I relate more with the king. Not because I’m necessarily a sociopathic, loathsome killjoy, but because the news is populated with so many of [the] type of people causing havoc for the rest of us trying to get on with the humble pleasure of enjoying our lives. The anger I feel, watching one country’s elected, chronic fibbers lying to its own people or to another country’s elected, chronic fibbers is quite enough to fuel the connection to the king’s character.
LB: ‘The God That Comes’ illustrates the struggle between order and chaos within. As an artists and creator you must relate to the innate desire for chaos, but as such a hard-working artist with multiple disciplines, there must be a need for order in your life as well. How do you find that balance?
HW: How do you find that balance? Ha! I think balance has been my lustful pursuit since I was a kid…inner chaos is the norm. It’s about learning to see the assembled, fractal elements of harmony or at least some version thereof, and finding calm there.
LB: How does your personal sexuality play into a production that is so hedonistic?
HW: I suppose it’s always been a part of what I do. There’s so much grey area with sexuality, even still. I guess I see music as a largely guttural exercise that the mind seeks always to corrupt. A tight lipped, Puritan society is like the mind and sexual expression, the music.
If that didn’t convince you to go buy your tickets to this one of a kind show, check out this video.