Hello! Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
My name's Max Dickins. I'm a writer/performer from London. I'm 5ft 9". Spaghetti Carbonara is my favourite food, but it also gives me diarrhoea which is something I have to deal with every day. I'm much more interesting in real life than in bios.
How would you describe your show?
It's a gripping one man play inspired by the incredible true story of The Man on the Moor. On 12th December 2015, a smartly dressed man was found dead on Saddleworth Moor. He was carrying no form of identification. In his pockets was just £130 in cash and return train tickets from London from the previous day. Despite a national media campaign, he remained unidentified. He appeared to have no family, no friends, no job, and no home. He didn't even have a name. He was simply known as 'the man on the moor.'
Three questions abounded: Who was this man? Why did he travel 200 miles to die? And why did nobody seem to miss him? After the police went public with the man's image, 40 different people reached out to claim 'the man on the moor' as their missing brother, father, or friend. These people are the left behind. Those who pick up the pieces when someone they love leaves and never comes home again. This show tells their story.
Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
This is my eighth or ninth year at the festival, I can't remember exactly because I've been drunk for most of those and can't be 100% sure of the numbers. I love coming here because you see so much inspiring work from all over the world, and you get to share your own with punters who are open minded, passionate and invested in the whole idea of the Fringe.
What differentiates it from other festivals?
The size! There is entertainment and art in every nook and cranny almost 24 hours a day for a whole month. That is quite something. Plus, the chip shops are way better than anywhere else.
Do you think the Fringe has changed over the years? If so, how? Are these changes positive or negative?
It keeps getting bigger. And more expensive. I am agnostic about whether either of these two phenomena are bad. But I cannot emphasise enough how me eating during August is dependent on your buying a ticket to my show.
What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?
I was motivated by fame, money, and girls. Now no-one knows who I am, I am begging strangers on blogs to buy tickets to my show, and I am single. This has not worked out as planned.
But in all seriousness: I love making shows about ideas that fascinate me. The show is an example of that. It's the best thing I've done. I think you'll really enjoy it.
If you didn't have your current job, what would you probably be doing?
I've always fancied doing something that involved mental detecting. Either that or porn.
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I'd like to be the writer/performer Daniel Kitson please.
What is your earliest childhood art memory?
Me and my friend Patrick made a time capsule out of an old 2 litre coke bottle and thought we'd write down every swear word we knew to save them for posterity in case there was some sort of doomsday scenario and aliens needed to learn about our culture. It's probably still buried where we left it.
Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?
I don't feel a pressure, but you can't help but see modern examples of the same human pathologies that have dominated throughout history played out again and again. For example, the whole Brexit campaign could have been written by Shakespeare.
Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?
I have seen technology, particularly social media, diminish people's concept of 'grey areas' and the idea of 'not knowing'. So I have been deliberate in trying to make the case that the truth is we know very little for sure about almost everything.
Describe the last year in 5 words or less.
Confirmation Bias Rules The Day
If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?
The stand-up and monologist Daniel Kitson. He inspired me to get into this and his work continues to inspire me all the time. I would love to work with him just to learn how he does it and why.
The Man On The Moor is performing at Underbelly, Cowgate at 15:00 on 3rd – 27th August. For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.