That’s the spirit

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - Spir­ited, W, Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm DEB­BIE SCHIPP

CLAU­DIA Kar­van is a chameleon. The ac­tor’s long list of Aus­tralian acting cred­its means she has to sport a new hair­cut and colour each time she changes roles.

But in re­cent years her amped-up ca­reer means she also jug­gles the dual roles of acting and pro­duc­ing Aus­tralian drama.

Kar­van, 38, is show­cas­ing both sets of skills with the start of the sec­ond sea­son of the pay-TV show Spir­ited.

Kar­van ( pic­tured) has reprised the lead role of con­trol-freak and slightly de­mented den­tist Suzy Dar­ling in the quirky Fox­tel drama.

Sea­son one saw Suzy un­happy in her mar­riage and grap­pling with the pres­ence of rock-star ghost Henry Mal­lett ( Matt King) in her wacky life.

As sea­son two be­gins, Suzy had laid to rest the ghosts of an un­happy mar­riage and fallen in love with her ghost. Kar­van not only acts but is co-pro­ducer.

‘‘ I think we’ve come on leaps and bounds from se­ries one,’’ says Kar­van, who wrapped the acting side of the job about six weeks ago but is still in pro­duc­tion for the last cou­ple of episodes.

‘‘ In se­ries one, we tested a whole vein that we hadn’t re­ally been in much be­fore. In this sec­ond se­ries we feel a lit­tle braver and that the show has got legs, arms and is walk­ing on its own a bit.

‘‘ It’s taken on a life and we kind of run in its wake.’’

Cer­tainly, when it comes to her char­ac­ter, Kar­van con­fesses it’s hard not to trail in Suzy’s wake.

‘‘ Suzy has cer­tainly evolved. She’s out of the shadow of her hus­band now and there’s ac­tu­ally a bit more af­fec­tion she feels to­wards her hus­band rather than an­noy­ance,’’ she says.

‘‘ She’s a more bal­anced per­son. She still has her com­pet­i­tive streak and her pedantry and all those fan­tas­ti­cally an­noy­ing qual­i­ties about her, but love has cer­tainly warmed her.’’

The fact Henry comes with his own bag­gage – a whole co­terie of new ghosts – adds plenty of comic and dra­matic fod­der to the sea­son.

Kar­van reck­ons Suzy makes her real life seem pos­i­tively nor­mal by com­par­i­son.

‘‘ Suzy’s ba­si­cally had a dan­ger­ous im­pact on my life,’’ laughs Kar­van, who, when she’s not work­ing, rel­ishes time with her two chil­dren, Au­drey, 9, and Al­bie, 5, and her part­ner Jeremy Sparks.

‘‘ I have in­her­ited her trait of talk­ing to my­self. Do you do that?’’ she asks.

‘‘ I’m re­lieved other peo­ple do it. I talk to some­one who I imag­ine is there. I re­live scenes or jokes I’ve heard a cou­ple of days be­fore and laugh out loud.

‘‘ I have a lot of Hen­rys in my life. I’m lucky like that. I’m in touch with lots of cre­atively-minded peo­ple and peo­ple who are in­cred­i­bly hon­est and are the an­tithe­sis of me and can send me up. Life for me is pretty good.’’

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