EDINBURGH 2019: The Long Pigs Q&A
One of Australia's most respected and established clown tropes enter a macabre world of abattoir dwelling, grey nosed, genocidal clowns, hell-bent on purging the world of their red nosed compatriots. THE LONGPIGS is a dark but hilarious comedy, as profound as it is grotesque. Clare Bartholomew makes up one third of THE LONG PIGS and spoke to BroadwayWorld ahead of their Edinburgh run.
Tell us a bit about The Long Pigs
The Long Pigs is a dark, comedic theatrical show. It is a hybrid of physical theatre and clowning that is genuinely funny. Ultimately it's as much Three Stooges as it is Jean Genet. Don't expect belly laughs every minute but be prepared to go on a visceral journey with three dark characters, into an underground world you've never seen before.
At the start of the show there is a prologue where you meet the three comrades gathering together in a forest, fresh from 'the hunt'. They have been out nose scalping their red nosed clown cousins, but something is not quite right...they are one nose short! This discovery sets the scene for the rest of the show, and as the search for the last red nosed clown is played out, alliances are lost and realigned repeatedly as suspicion and mistrust takes over the three, leading to an ultimately fatal climax.
Why bring it to Edinburgh?
We're very excited to see how international audiences will respond to the show as it's had such a brilliant response so far in Australia. Our first season in Melbourne sold out and we had to add shows and received the most incredible reviews. Then we were invited to the Sydney Festival where the audience and critical response to the show blew us away. We're very much hoping that if the show goes as well in Edinburgh that we'll be able to share it with many more people.
It's a highly visual and visceral show, as well as being non-verbal, so we think it will appeal to European and non-English speaking audiences. We know we've created something utterly unique and are thrilled to be bringing it to the largest arts festival in the world!
How long have you been working together?
We first began working together on an early version of this show back in 2014, but I've known Nicci for around fifteen years. We work as Clown Doctors together in Melbourne and Mozes and Nicci have been performing together even longer, in various circus companies such as Circus Oz and Circus Monoxide.
The first versions of the show came about in two five-minute pieces we created for a cabaret night at the Tasmanian Circus Festival. Those two early pieces became the beginning and the end scenes of the show we have now. Of course, we played with them and created the story that ties them together, but we never thought then we'd be working with this full length show and a design team all these years later!
Who would you recommend comes to see The Long Pigs?
People who love things that are slightly off centre and anyone who loves dark comedy, physical theatre, strong characters and intricately choreographed scenes. The show also has some multi-award winning designers working on it. The set for example (a cross between an abattoir and a Rube Goldberg styled processing plant) is beautifully designed by Anna Tregloan. There is also an unnerving and haunting soundtrack composed by Jethro Woodward that will have you sitting on the edge of your seats in anticipation.
And who would you suggest maybe doesn't?
People who need every joke to have a clear punchline, and if you're not into dark comedy! I guess also anyone who just thinks clowns are big fuzzy wig wearing performers with gaudy painted faces who squirt water at you. Clown is a beautiful art form and is used by many performers in all kinds of mediums to convey nuanced characters. Using the art form of clowning to create rich imaginative theatre is what we like to do, but if you can't get past the traditional circus image of a 'painted face red nose clown', then this show might not be for you.
Clare Bartholomew performs in The Long Pigs at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1st -25th August (not 7th, 12th or 19th). Tickets and more information: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/long-pigs