Exclusive: Campbell Scott Doesn’t Even Like Campbell Scott in The Atheist

Ronan Noone’s The Atheist, co-produced by Culture Project and Circle in the Square Theatre, is a one-man show starring <a href="http://www.imdb.com

/name/nm0001714/” target=”_blank”>Campbell Scott as Augustine Early, an unscrupulous Kansas journalist determined to snag himself a full-time position at a newspaper. When the perfect story falls in his lap, Augustine uses any means necessary to expose it for his own gain. Means of choice: blackmailing, leaking pornography on the internet, and seducing widows. He recounts the methods behind his conniving stride to success; the enabler being his lack of belief in anything.

Of course, there’s much more to it than that — see for yourself at the Barrow Street Theatre until January 4th. It plays every other week, so there are only three weeks left! After the jump, Flavorwire snagged a quick Q&A with Scott to entice you further.

Flavorwire: What was it about Ronan Noone’s script that attracted you?
Campbell Scott: I’m drawn to writing that manages to be unrelentingly genuine and dark, but also funny… And the character of Augustine is a great challenge, because he can appear to be soul-less, monstrous even, but also there’s a real human there somewhere…

FW: You have talked about how much your performance can change from show to show; how your audience shapes your performance to a certain extent. Have you experienced this before? You mentioned Eugene O’Neill as another playwright whose writing brought that diversity to the script, but is this a rare experience?
CS: The audience always tells you what they buy and don’t buy – very quickly… And if you get to play the part for a while, you can’t help but adjust to their honesty-meter… but The Atheist is rare because I’ve never had to depend on the audience so much to hold up their side of the conversation — because I’m alone on stage and all the characters come by way of me, etc. And the personality and the behavior of Augustine are not exactly embraceable qualities sometimes. It’s a humbling experience, to say the least… but more rewarding when the audience does embrace him, in spite of how difficult it might be.

FW: Do you prescribe to a particular method or school of acting?
CS: I prescribe to the — work on great writers and surround yourself with talented colleagues as much as possible and keep your sense of humor — school of acting.

FW: During the talkback with Ronan Noone you reproached yourself multiple times for speaking about yourself; you joked about egoism. Is this an insecurity of yours after building a career in an industry that is stereotyped as self-absorbed?
CS: Actually, just false modesty — I’ve found that being humble in a particular way will simply serve to keep the spotlight on me for more of the time — now I do sound like Augustine!