Posted on 11 Apr 2016
We talk to Mark Dawson, artistic director, co-writer and performer in Gonzo Moose’s Great Scott!
A year or so ago a Facebook friend posted something about 9/11 and the conspiracy theory that the US government was behind it. I found it fascinating that they believed in this theory so strongly that nothing I could say would change their minds.
Then I did some research into the crazy world of conspiracy theories - for example that the moon landing was faked and that we are all being poisoned by the fluoride in the tap water. The way people jumped to these unfathomable and far-fetched theories and believed in them so strongly was interesting to me.
Then I looked for some context and decided on the historical figure of Captain Scott. He is a fascinating figure and one that amazingly has no existing conspiracy theories linked to him. So in Great Scott! we set about doing just that.
Captain Scott is also a fascinating character in that he was seen as a hero then later more of a bungler whose mistakes caused the disastrous end of his ill-fated expedition. We wanted to make him the hero again.
While using puppetry is an exciting prospect, it will also be challenging to work out how to use it effectively but one that I'm looking forward to. Another challenging prospect is how to make conspiracy theories funny but rest assured we will!
The best way to explain our shows is as ‘knock about’ (slapstick) comedies.
If you have ever seen a Morecambe and Wise show, they are reminiscent of the swashbuckling often historically based roman epic or French revolution sketches they used to do at the end with their special guest.
Like those Morecambe and Wise pastiches, our shows are often swashbuckling adventures but with the added element of crossing them with movie genres. So with Great Scott! we present a sci-fi spoof set in the world of Captain Scott expeditions.
It is a similar formula in that it’s an epic adventure with three actors playing multiple roles. There is fast moving action with lots of costume changes but this time we've added some different storytelling devices.
It is told from the perspective of conspiracy theorists which we are using to frame the action and we're using puppetry much more than before which will add a whole new element.
It is exciting to make a new show - it’s our first since 2012 - and seeing how it will be received. We also will be featuring shadow puppetry and a puppet alien that will be interesting to see how that will work in telling our alternative story of Captain Scott's final expedition.
His expeditions were funded by the National Geographic Society and it was on his final mission that rocks and fossils he collected that proved that Antarctica was once part of an ancient super-continent named Gondwanaland (now Gondwana), which also included Australia, Africa and South America. An amazing discovery!
Gonzo Moose Presents: Great Scott! is coming to Cornerstone on Saturday 7 May at 7.30pm. To book tickets, click here.
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