Jonny Fluffypunk is a familiar face here at Bristol Old Vic having performed at our monthly Blahblahblah poetry night and now returning to perform his own autobiographical show. We caught up with him to ask him about his upcoming show in the Ferment Fortnight.
Briefly describe (for us) what your show is about?
At the age of 38 I became a father to a little boy. All little boys look up to their dad as a sort of unquestioned god. I looked in the mirror and felt I didn’t deserve that sort of reputation: somehow, I had to become A Man. This show is about that search for the hero inside myself. But really, it’s about finding self-worth, no matter how unpromising the material.
Now describe it in 3 words.
Failure is beautiful
Is it similar to what you’ve done previously or are you trying something new?Well, it uses performance poetry and stand-up, both of which are my fields, but it uses them in a new way for me. And it uses shadow puppet theatre, which I’ve never used before. And bits of music. And paper-bag-glove-puppets. I’ve not used them before, either. Neither have I assaulted a miniature cardboard benefits claimant adviser before, and I get to do that, too…
How will it make people feel? / What will it make people think about?
Hopefully, of course, it will make them laugh. There’s no jokes, though. Hopefully they will be touched, as well. Perhaps it’ll make them feel that however humble their experiences, they’re special and brave and powerful, too. I’d hope they’d feel that. It might make them think about 17th century religious revolutionaries and early 20th century anarcho-syndicalists- that’s certainly a possible by-product.
What stage will it be at in its development when we see it in January?
A structurally- complete but ramshackle run through. I’m doing 40 mins of what will be an hour long finished show, so there’ll be some poems and bits missing, undoubtedly. All the major elements are there. I’ll have prototype props .And I’ll probably have bits of paper in my hand at various times. I’m basically a performance poet and comedian: a performer, not an actor, so it’s not about learning a script and reproducing it. The whole performance bounces off an audience. Lots of bits of the show have not been tested on an audience before, so there’s a lot of development that will come on the spot, improvising and adapting my script on the hoof. And after the show there’ll undoubtedly be lots of frenzied rewriting.
What elements in particular are you looking forward to testing it out on Ferment audiences?
My shadow puppet theatre. And there’s a lot of switching between different performance modes and attitudes- mood swings, in short. I’ll be veering between tenderness and shouting and various points in between and I’m looking forward to doing it masterfully and seeing if I can make it work.
What are your personal highlights of the line-up for January’s Ferment Fortnight?
Byron Vincent has a way with words and a caustic wit that always delights. And ‘Music For The Film I’m In’, by Chris Redmond and Anna Freeman. That’ll be good.
Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk! will be performed on Wed 30 Jan as part of the Ferment Fortnight, find out more here.
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