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Writing has always been a passion for local figure Mike Colquhoun. And from the day he happened upon a bookshop in St Paul, Minnesota, and discovered Kafka at the age of 13, he has enjoyed labyrinthian surreal worlds.
“Born in England, I was transplanted as a child to a military academy in the US to lead a transient life,” Mike says.
Mike’s early life led him to follow an unpredictable path. In his late teens, he became a mural artist in Switzerland before returning to England where he qualified as an accountant and then became a hybrid in IT and design. Throughout, he continued painting, doing stand up comedy, improvisation and cartoons and so when an opportunity arose to pursue his genuine interests, he didn’t hesitate.
Mike recently published a book of poetry from his work over the past five years. “Words, often poems, are integral to my painting,” the former stand-up comic explains. He also published his first novel, Continuum, as well as a “remastered” book of cartoons and adds “another book or two are waiting in the wings”. He has won awards for two animated movies and another screenplay, Disdain.
Last year, Mike wrote the play Jennifer about a young woman seeking a life change and is thrilled to have an interview with the mega rich Charles, to be his personal assistant. The story begins there. After we meet the investigative journalist Camilla.
“I am not a hobbyist so I never do anything unless I can see an outlet, and am fortunate to have many connections in the world of entertainment, call it synchronicity.”
For Jennifer, which opened last weekend at la Passerelle in Nice, Mike called on people he met in the past. He’s known Suzanne Kendall, the lead – “and a very talented and versatile actress” – thanks to the Angel Awards Monaco International Film Festival.
“Suzanne narrated my script on the Heart, which has won three awards so far and is in the June Concrete Dream Festival in LA.”
Catherine O’Reilly, an accomplished actress and a barrister, plays Camilla and French performer Nicolas Carré’s role as Charles is the first the singer/actor has ever undertaken completely in English.
“As an artist you are forever vulnerable,” Mike admits. “It’s rather like having a wound and letting people poke it – it can be painful. But I like live entertainment and if I’m given a choice between a movie and watching something on stage the stage will win.
“As I say, I am not a hobbyist so producing things for my own satisfaction is not something that works for me and so I produce with an audience or an outlet in mind.”
When Mike’s not writing or listening to live music at Le Borghese, Shapko Bar or Le Ketje, the Monaco Air League member can be found at coffee mornings every Sunday, which he originally organised as a Meetup. “Now it’s a kind of institution, attended every Sunday for the past five plus years in Nice by some 20 to 50 different people each week. It’s a way of putting folks together to make new friends and get the most out of where we live.”
Jennifer will be on stage at la Passerelle (2 rue Pacho) in Nice on May 4 and 5. Tickets: €15. More info on: 04 93 26 23 92.
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A new exhibition opens at the Galerie Adriano Ribolzi on September 15 showcasing the work of Karl Stengel, winner of the GemlucArt prize in 2015.
The Hungarian artist has lived through turbulent times in the modern history of Europe. Born to a middleclass family in 1925 in Neusatz, on the banks of the Danube, he was imprisoned by the Russians during the Second World War. It took some time after the end of the conflict before he succeeded in gaining admission to a school of art, and following the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956 he fled to Munich.
From his base in Germany, Stengel has exhibited in many European galleries.
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