INTERVIEW | Baby, NewCurrent

BABY is a 1985 American adventure fantasy film; what your lover calls you; your mother calls you. An inconoclastic, terrifying performance on the problem of human agency.

Text-based, post-dramatic, political satire that is mostly as described; an audience with a polar bear; a victim of climate change, forced migration and globalisation. You are what you eat and the polar bear ate it’s young, your young and the last of the ice.

Hey guy, thanks for talking to tNC, you all set for your return to VAULT? 

Tobias Manderson-Galvin: Yes.
Dr Tom Payne: Yes.
Ghost: Yes.

You had a great run last year at the festival, winning the Origins Award for Best New Work, what did mean for you to get this type of recognition for your work?

DTP: Sorry – was that a ghost?
TMG: It meant we finally got to put one of those Fred Perry looking logos on our poster.

Has it surprised you to have gotten the reaction you’ve got for your work?

DTP: My son said our work was ‘amazing’ and then he cried.
TMG: You cried too.
DTP: Happy tears.

What would you say the biggest lesson you took from last years run at VAULT?

TMG: Don’t go into the taxidermy room. It’s not professional. It stinks of death.

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced in your new play?

TMG: Tom crashed a light plane in the arctic.
DTP: Tobias was already there so it could have been worse.
TMG: I was pretty hungry.
DTP: You never think it’s going to be quite as cold as it actually is.

Tell me a little bit about Baby, what can we expect?

DTP: Lots of pleasure. Lots of excitement. Thrills. Ecstatic people all around you. Sweating.
TMG: The venue have warned us that it’s a very humid room.

What was the inspiration behind the play?

TMG: Tom’s plane crash was a major part of it.
DTP: And Tobias wanted to get naked with a polar bear mask on so it all came together.

How did Doppelgangster come about?

DTP: I met Tobias, we were both on retreat in an old country house in mid-Wales. We stumbled across some old Nazi paraphernalia, a dressing up box, and managed to somehow alienate the other 20 people in the house at the time, with our anti-fascist propaganda – And we thought 20? Child’s play. Give us a real challenge.

How have you managed to maintain the uniqueness that you bring to your productions?

TMG: Yes.
DTP: Yes.
Ghost: Yes.

Have you always had a passion for theatre?

TMG: I woke up on an operating table when I was 12. Swore a great deal. Refused pain killers. That was when the passion awoke. Tom?
DTP: I originally got my pilots license because I wanted to see duty. Serve the Empire, wear a cute outfit and fly billions of dollars through the sky. But after I saw theatre (Afghanistan, twice) I realised it wasn’t for me. So I took to flying solo, for records, and started building my own planes too. Since the crash, this is my first time back in a theatre.

 How much has your approach to creating theatre changed since your first production?

TMG: It’s only 8 years since I staged my first full work; and the main difference is I don’t bother dying my hair anymore.
DTP: Every show demands a new approach. Every show is a first production. I have also stopped dying my hair.

What has been the best advice you’ve been given?

DTP: Don’t fly solo in a light aircraft over the arctic.
TMG: Always wear gloves, carry a bottle of bleach in your pocket, and keep your phone on speed dial to the Ecuadorian Embassy.

 What advice would you offer any new company out there?

DTP: Don’t fly solo in a light aircraft over the arctic.
TMG: Doppelgangster’s advice is available at very reasonable industry rates. Make use of it. I’m a tremendous source of knowledge.

And finally what do you hope people will take away from your work?

Ghost: Me
TMG: Take the ghost!
DTP: Our metal badges, limited edition linocut prints and what theatrical academics call “a sense of impending doom”.