How to Talk About God without Stereotypes: An Interview with Luca Cupani
Luca Cupani, born and raised in Bologna, had been working for eight years in a publishing company in his home-town when, in 2011, something happened and he found himself going through a tough time. For this reason, he signed up for an acting class and discovered that he wanted to be an actor.
It was an old dream, one that he had always denied to himself until he was 35, when he finally changed his life and, attracted by the London theatre scene, moved to the other side of the Channel.
Despite being Italian, Luca’s look is not the stereotypical one, he is not short, he has not a dark complexion, he does not look Mediterranean but stereotypes do not belong to him. As Luca himself has put it, he is not cast for Italian characters because he does not look like one and, looking for an opportunity to walk on the stage, he discovered Comedy, and London’s thriving open-mic community. He signed up for the Gong Show at the Comedy Store and won it! The prize consists of five minutes on the stage beside professional comedians. And this is how it all started.
Also, he later won the So you think you’re funny competition in Edinburgh, that granted him a spot at Just for Laughs! In Montreal, ironically, as one of the best British comedians. This, then, was followed by a string of performances outside of the UK, especially in Switzerland and Eastern Europe.
As the actor stated in his Italian Brew interview, being a comedian is the thing that Luca loves the most. He likes the feeling of interacting with the audience and the immediate feedback that he gets. He does not take care of every tiny detail while writing a show but he feels the urge to walk on the stage, and it is there, in front of the audience, that he shapes his performance night after night. This is Luca’s fifth Fringe and he still remembers his first Festival, when he had a one-hour show at half-past midnight at a Cowgate venue. He fell in love with Edinburgh and the Fringe. He has not missed one edition since. This year you can find him at the Underbelly with his new show God Digger. As always, Luca wants to be himself on the stage.
Telling about himself and being Catholic was something that used to come up during his shows, so he decided to build an entire set around the topic. Cupani defines his last creation as an observational-comedy, a confessional-comedy, and a storytelling. He is proud of having avoided all the stereotypes that sooner or later when you talk about religion unavoidably make their appearance. Unlike the usual stereotype of the atheist comedian that talks about the paradoxical facts of religion, he faces the subject from inside the faith. He tells his version of being a Catholic according to his life experiences: family, sex, and failures. Luca makes fun of himself throwing into the show real anecdotes of his life without undermining catholic principles; he feels a deep connection with the self-deprecating comedy. Luca never takes himself seriously, and he hopes that his audience will be encouraged to do the same, having a laugh while identifying in his jokes.
God Digger is never in poor taste while avoiding any trace of preaching. The show is filled with irony and respect at the same time. It is a beautiful show that treats a subject that might become thorny very lightly and with great intelligence. It does not matter if you are religious or you are an atheist, Luca is the living proof that you can believe with lightness and, as a bonus, he will give you some precious hints about the saints with whom is better not to hang out, as they might be very pedantic. An absolute must!
written by Rosario Perilli