— INTERVIEW on ‘Everybody Loses…’ | Miro

Everybody Loses | Interview

It’s back and bolder than ever – VAULT Festival 2018, running until 18 March 2018. Theatre editor Daniel Perks catches up with writer and performer Dr Tom Payne, bringing Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt to this year’s festival:
VAULT Festival 2018 – it was one of my Theatre Picks to kick off the year. It’s London’s biggest arts festival, taking place in a series of subterranean tunnels beneath Waterloo station, as well as expanding into the nearby Waterloo East Theatre and Network Theatre. Now in its sixth year, it promises to be an eight-week cultural nerve centre, inviting audiences to over 300 shows.

Here at Miro Magazine, we are incredibly excited by the biggest offering that The Vaults has ever seen – we have already picked our top shows that should not be missed! Throughout the festival, we will be profiling some of the shows playing this year – getting to know the theatre companies and performers that are bringing work to London’s version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt, which plays VAULT Festival until 1 March 2018. I caught up with writer and performer Dr Tom Payne:

Describe Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt in three words.

Death by snakebite!

Is this your first VAULT Festival performance experience?

Tobias won the VAULT Origins award in 2015 for his writing on please don’t talk about me when I’m gone and then Doppelgangster came back in 2016 with Baby, which was described as a ‘supreme WTF of a show!’.

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the VAULT Festival?

Here’s three of our top ten… Ben Target is out of his mind and will send you out of yours; The Year of the Rooster Monk looks absolutely bonkers and spooky and real and is made by previous collaborators Les Foules. Is the Caravan Theatre actually in a caravan? If so then that.

Who or what are your inspirations?

Our inspiration for this show is this groundbreaking herpetologist and renowned brave idiot Dr Karl Patterson Schmidt. He got bitten by an extremely deadly snake, while in the company of a handful of concerned, expert colleagues and yet refused treatment so he could document, first-hand, the effects of the venom. Is it a metaphor for the horrible futility of our fights against death? Is it resonant with the now lost battle against climate change? Is it just kind of hilarious?

We’re making theatre because we believe that it’s fundamental to social change. People gathered a space together, experiencing real time, and perhaps something a little more profound or truthful or chaotic. The vaults are great because you have the unique characteristics of the arches; condensation drips from the walls, Waterloo station rumbles overhead. You’re cocooned in all that stone directly beneath one of the busiest interchanges in the UK and there’s barely any rats

What are the future plans for Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt?

We first started making the show in an empty school hall in Melbourne (Australia) and it’s been tested in an Arts centre in Aberystwyth (mid Wales) and an ex-Nazi boot factory in Paris. Two days after VAULT we’re heading to Sheffield, then the Tom Thumb in Margate in April. After that things are a little up in the air until September when we’re taking back to Australia for a multi city tour. Which is a bit difficult because I have to take a small amount of venom approx twenty three hours before each show so we are trying not to do too many days in a row.

What is the best production you have seen in the last 12 months?

We watched back a video of our first show (Doppelgangster’s Titanic) that we forgot we’d recorded. Tobias had just had kidney surgery and was completely drugged up on Endone, so when he fell off the top of a shipping container we had on our set and broke his nose about five minutes into the show we just kept going. Blood, sweat, and more blood. Five stars.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt?

I take a small quantity of snake venom before each performance in order to best experience something close to the actual death of the show hero KP Schmidt back in 1957. It’s not really advisable and our snake expert is an amateur – a retired farmer and former soldier – but he’s Australian and from the outback and wears a hat with corks hanging off it so we figure that’s expert enough.

“I take a small quantity of snake venom before each performance.”