On Wednesday, June 15th I had the pleasure of interviewing the persona that is Kian O’Connor. From this 3 hour-long conversation I was able to deduce a few things. Firstly, that Kian has many compelling and captivating main character attributes; said attributes that walk the thin line of making him the well-accepted and likeable antagonist or the misunderstood but relatable protagonist.
What I’ve come to realize is that his responses to my questions felt very cinematically familiar. It may be the film student in me, but I couldn’t help but think how his responses would read to others if they were given another setting and possibly told within a cinematic storyline while staying true to what actually was said within the interview.
Theoretically, regardless of the genre in which Kian’s story could and would be placed, our characters’ lives would have to cross paths. Whether indirectly or directly I would represent the force that provokes a reaction, or provides insight into his psyche, thus enabling you the audience to make your assumptions about him and also better understand him.
For the first example of his storyline, the scene could commence with Kian in a dimly lit room seated on a couch in the midst of a monologue prompted by me seated opposite to him. Here the conversation may sound like:
Me: What is your most reoccurring dream?
Kian: “Do people still have dreams? I thought we all saw black walls when we close our eyes.”
Me: Interesting tell me more
Kian: “Wait you don’t see black walls when you close your eyes? … It’s not like black walls black walls it’s just like nothing, probably it’s because I’m overly tired. I think that people you have the brain power to dream, your brain has extra energy and my brain does not.”
Here in the midst of the scene, I as the therapist, and you as the audience, have been painted a somewhat vague picture of who Kian is. Here he feels mysterious. Here you the audience may have already started to assume things about his life. You may have also surmised that from this brief interaction that he is indeed the main character.
In returning to the scene I could then pose two other sentences I did in the interview.
“Tell me a memory you wish you’ll never forget and tell me a memory you wish you could forget.”
Kian’s response: “Probably when I got my first bicycle. I went on a trip to I think Dunn’s River Falls and I came home and saw it the middle of the room.”
He continues, “It probably would have been an emotional experience, if I had thought about it that way. But I hadn’t really been close to my father in the past so then I just had it as a bicycle.”
And in responding to the second half of the question, “I don’t think I have those. I feel like I’m in the perspective of whatever happened had happened for a reason. The experience that you get from the encounter makes you the person that you are now. So therefore I don’t think I have specific experiences I wish I could forget”
Here these responses provoke emotion and promote understanding within you and/or the audience at large. Was not being close to his father a budding aspect of his origin story? Is accepting everything a coping mechanism? Maybe not, But his responses do give way to those dramatic questions. Additionally in many ways, here he exhibits familiar traits of our most accepted antagonists.
Another version of his story could be set within a summer vacation. In this version, Kian is a past veteran, reminiscing and ranting to children in the neighbourhood whenever they go near his yard. On a particular day, I could be caught in the crosshairs of one such lesson. Maybe I was playing and my ball ended up in his yard and I came to retrieve it. Here he could reveal to me, the non-local visiting, that he is from Kingston, Jamaica and that he grew up on Windward Road for the majority of his life. He could go on…
“Winter and summer is always a bit better because of the holidays that come with it. I don’t like being unproductive…when you have summer you don’t have school but, I value the time to spend with family”
“I think Jamaica is the only place you can walk ‘cross somebody anywhere at all and not and them hail you back. SO it’s like there is a sense of family in Jamaica. I know that the crime rates don’t show it but where I’ve been? I don’t ever remember being in a place where it was affected by crime to the point where it was noticeable. You know in Jamaica no matter which art you come from you’re going to come into contact with some kind of crime, but, not to the point that really affects me. So I think there is a sense of family where Jamaica is concerned that I really like. Even though I think it’s rapidly fading”
And then he could flip the script and say the following;
“Now there is some cruelty the country is being infected by. There is some hardness in how people deal with each other. At one point there was a pity towards children and a respect for elders in the society. When we used to have wars in the quote and quote bad areas, the women and children would always be alright”
With childhood innocence, I could ask “What can’t you stand most about Jamaica?”
His response: “I think it’s the ignorance of the people, I think the rising ignorance is one of the things causing the deduction in the fact that there is a family-like spirit in Jamaica.” and adds, “the Government is not responsible for all downfalls of the country.”
Here we are met with his unpopular opinions and tangible evidence of his love for his country. Similarly, we understand why it is he feels the way he does about Jamaica. Of course, not all will agree, which is what gives him that misunderstood but possibly relatable trait.
The third and final way I would meet Kian would be like all the greats do within the best stories; working the graveyard shift at a diner. Here he is a salesman down on his luck and tries to sell me the following product;
“I’m a Clark’s person.” He would continue…
“I love classics I don’t think you can go wrong with classics, like Clark’s. You buy a Clark’s and you basically buy a wardrobe of shoes.”
“You can’t wear a Clark’s and not be accepted. Whether it be to a wedding or a party, Clark’s is just THE shoes.”
Pushing the conversation further, as it is my job as your driving force I’d rebut, “Can Clark’s change a person?”
To which he would respond “Clarks can’t change a person. I mean I definitely changed when I started wearing Clark’s but that’s not for everybody. There is a specific level of confidence, but at the same time, it is not the only thing that is needed. I bought my first pair and it felt great.”
Here, as a waitress making minimum wage I’d attempt to belittle its price, just to see if I could get under his skin. In quick retort, he may admit,
“The last time I bought one it was 21k.”
It should be noted these were his favorites, the black Bank Robbers. At this point you the audience could gather a few other character traits, like him being passionate, driven, and arguable persuasive. Some of you may even guess that in the latter part of the plot of his movie he would lose the very thing he loves, his shoes. Which in some way or another could leave him unhinged, possibly creating a great action movie.
However, despite his efforts and to close the scene I would probably have the sassiest of remarks like the following, “Well that tells me all I need to know about how you take your coffee- black, no sugar.”