He found his purpose at the edge of freedom
Charlie X is a revolutionary mime. He champions the rights of the ordinary individual. Based on Charlie Chaplin, Neil Goodwin uses the character to share hope by scouring through the veneer of normalcy and tapping into his audience’s common humanity.
When Goodwin moved to Cape Town from England, he immersed himself in the activism community. That’s where the ‘revolutionary’ part of his identity as Charlie X comes from. Charlie is a way to shine a light on issues as diverse as xenophobia, LGBTIQ rights and corruption in government.
But the character isn’t only helping others. Goodwin is disabled, living with ankylosing spondylitis. The condition is a form of spinal arthritis that has left him with a fused neck and spine. Charlie X offers camouflage, a way to own his disability. When in character he is able to test the limits of convention. When people expect the unconventional, anything is possible. For Goodwin, that’s where freedom lives.