Gameshow interview Circus Geeks
Gameshow: Why do you all work together?
Circus Geeks: We met at a juggling convention when we were teenagers but didn’t live near each other. When we finished school Mat and myself went to different circus school and Jon tried being an electrician. After graduating and several electric shocks we managed to find some time and finally work together.
Where did the idea for the show come from and do you see an end point for it?
Beta Testing grew from the Circus Geek blog which was set up after a long night of discussing the lack of circus blogs and the journey to the perfect pizza (Sodo is our current favourite in the UK).
Beta Testing is sort of finished now, we hope to add the odd scene here or there, tighten bits up and experiment with what we have. We like tinkering.
What’s the process behind making a show like Beta Testing?
Initially I had some starting points of the show (thanks to the blog) and then we had ‘a meeting’ (we hung out in a coffee shop) and developed the ideas and added new suggestion from Jon and Matt.
Thanks to Adrian at Jacksons Lane we then had 5 days in their theatre space and at the end of the week gave a showing. Off the back of that and an application we won the Propellor Prize which had support from a bunch of generous partners, Jerwood charitable foundation and Arts Council England.
The prize came with development time and a strong budget which allowed us to develop the show and premier at the Roundhouse as part of Circus Fest.
A year later and we’re about to start our tour.
Were there artistic disagreements making the show?
Yes occasionally we disagree about direction but usually it’s not a very painful process.
Do you think disagreement can be constructive?
For sure, it means if you have an opinion about a scene and someone disagrees with it you have to be able to reason your thinking. The idea might get improved upon or taken in a different direction. And hopefully it means that your worst ideas don’t make it onstage.
Why the haddock-phobia?
After you’ve been repeatedly hit in the face by a slimy-scaley friend you begin to question if they really are your friends at all.
How are the shows you make connected with the blog?
The blog was a starting point for a few of the scenes in the show and we also keep it unto date with what’s going on in our world, not just what’s happened on stage or on the road but also stuff we find interesting.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a circus artist?
Getting any kind of routine and finding work.
Have you ever injured an audience member?
Not so far!
If I wanted to get into the history of juggling, where would I start?
There are a few good places to start, David Cain and Erik Aberg are currently doing some great historical research.
If I wanted to get into contemporary circus performance where would start?
If you were a wrestler from the 90s, what would your stage name be?
Recommend us some culture!
Circus Geeks interview Gameshow
Circus Geeks: Why do you work with each other?
Gameshow: I think we just like the insides of each other’s heads.
How did you come to make this show?
We danced to a Lemon Jelly track (‘Space Walk’) in a barn in Suffolk. It sounds like what it must feel like to go into space. We reckoned it’d be good to make a show that makes an audience feel like that.
What was the hardest part/issue in making it?
Realising that we didn’t need to listen to what people said about it.
If you could change one thing in the show what would it be?
I’d like the ending to be longer.
What’s the worst thing to happen to you on-stage?
Unintentionally launching some of my mouth-bread at a Person from a Trendy London Theatre. I also threw up a bit in my bin once. But I actually quite enjoyed that. You know it’s ART when you throw up.
What’s the thing you’re most proud of in this show?
It’s the most genuine thing I’ve done so far. It feels like us. Or at least a bit of us. I’m proud of that.
Are there any challenges particular to duo work and how do you meet them?
We go about things in different ways, start in different places. Sometimes Matthew starts with words, and I start by chucking myself on the floor. Sometimes it’s the other way round. If we end up meeting in the middle somewhere, that’s good. If not, that’s better.
How do you manage your friendship/working relationship?
They blur into each other really. We’ve always spent all of our time making each other laugh/competing/being silly, and that’s where most of our shows start.
What happens when you disagree artistically?
We smash our separate ideas together until they turn into a new, more exciting thing.
Can you recommend us a book, play/podcast/film/bit of culture you think we should know about?
Film: The Act of Killing
Book: Sabbath’s Theatre, Philip Roth
Play: Breath, Beckett
Thing: Quizoola, Forced Entertainment
Who is your favourite artist?
Kurt Schwitters, Billy Childish or Stanley Spencer
Which of you would make a better prime minister?
We could do it together. In a big coat. We’d change our face for different situations.