Award-winning physical comedian and clown RICHARD SAUDEK puts his heart and body into this human tale of one man’s cripplingly lonely obsession with technology, in BEEP BOOP. The show combines projection, foley sound, original composition, clowning and oh so very physical, physical theatre and he’s bringing it to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. Ahead of that, he talks to West End Wilma.
Name of Edinburgh show: Beep Boop
Venue: Assembly George Square, Blue Room
Performance time: 2:25pm
Show length: 1hr
Ticket price: £12 Tickets: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/beep-boop
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I started off as a clown in the circus when I was really young. That’s when my love for performing started. I was a clown for about seven years until discovering a love for theatre. It was a natural fit to apply the techniques of clowning to other types of performance. I’ve been working as an actor in New York for a little over ten years now.
Tell me about your new show, what it is all about?
Beep Boop is a dark and whimsical clown show inspired by silent-era masters and vaudevillian peculiarity performed at a breakneck pace with live foley, original music, and multimedia. It’s about the crushing loneliness of modernity… and meant to be funny.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2019?
I’ve been working on this show for about three years. It started with me, alone in a rehearsal room developing material that had to do thematically with the devices we use every day (phones/computers/tablets), and doing it using the old tropes of silent-era comedy and clowning. Later I found a small team of wonderful collaborators to help develop the vision into something with a bit of an arc and got some incredible sound design to accompany as well. I’ve performed it now in NYC and hope to do it in other cities as well!
It’s relevant to audiences in 2019 because it’s all wrapped up in modernity and the new psyche that we’re all collectively experiencing via time spent on our devices. It’s also relevant because I’m employing an incredibly old performance medium (clowning). So, maybe it’s relevant in that it’s new enough to speak to our modern times and in that it’s old enough to never stop being relevant!
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Sleep well and eat right. Don’t be taken in by the scotch, haggis and nightlife!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was cast in a staged reading of a new play by a big-time playwright with some big-time actors in it. There were three characters – two of whom sat at a cafe table speaking to each other for most of the play and then me, the waiter. Since it was a staged reading, I was standing up there in the background like a doofus waiting to enter and say my one line for three quarters of the show. I felt the audience’s eyes on me. When the time finally came to say, “____, could I get you another coffee?” (my one line) I screwed up and said the name of my character instead of his…it turned into this whole awkwardly improvised moment at a point in the script when things were NOT about the waiter. It was horrible…and, I guess, funny.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I’ve been inspired by Buster Keaton, Marcel Marceau, Jean Genet, Beetlejuice, Antonin Artaud, John Cage, Gene Wilder, Jaques Tati, Pee-wee Herman, Chaplin, Shelley Duval, David Byrne, Wim Wenders, Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Gilda Radner, Denis Lacombe, Christopher Guest, Lou Reed, René Bazinet, and Steve Martin.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I make extensive use of my foam roller, jog in place, get my heart pumping and then lie on my back staring at the ceiling for a while.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m looking forward to seeing Only Bones 1.0. I’m a Thom Muncton fan.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It’s fast-paced and satisfying. The performance-style as well as the themes are universal. If you have 55 minutes to spare, I like to think that you’ll be glad you spent ‘em watching Beep Boop.
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
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