Comedic monster Red Bastard isn’t afraid to ask the eternal question

Red Bastard

Red Bastard - Credit: Archant

After five-star reviews across North America, Europe and Australia, America’s premier bouffon is coming to the Pleasance Theatre tomorrow (April 29).

Red Bastard – a comedic monster created by Eric Davis, Deanna Fleysher and Sue Morrison – has become famous for charming and disarming audience members through his utterly unique stage show, asking them to confront the ultimate existensial question – “who the hell do you think you are?” Here, we turn the questions towards him.

This certainly doesn’t look like a normal comedy show. What was the inspiration for it and how did it come about it?

Look again, you may find it is not even a normal show, let alone a normal comedy. That, I guarantee you, is the fun of it. The inspiration? The inspiration was you. I’ve been thinking about you. Just about as much as you think about yourself. And that is a lot! It was destiny that we meet. Your destiny awaits.

You look like a creature from hell (no offence). Asking people to ‘surrender’ also sounds quite terrifying – why would people want to come to this over, say, Michael McIntrye?

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Creature from Hell? Why thank you. I’ll take that to mean I look fun. I’ve never once seen a painting of Heaven that looked like anyone was having any fun.

Why come to Red Bastard? Something unexpected will happen at this show. Perhaps something that you have never seen happen before. You’ve seen Michael McIntyre before haven’t you? But that’s fine. Go see Michael McIntyre, AGAIN... Please... More Michael McIntyre for everyone! In fact let’s make an immediate mandate. Only Michael McIntyre from here on out. And pizza. Pizza’s nice. Let’s just eat pizza every day, for eternity, while watching Michael McIntyre. Then we’ll see who’s in Hell. A life well lived involves varying your experiences. Come out, come out wherever you are...

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People seem to come away from the evening begging for more, in some sort of cathartic experience. What is this journey you take them on and what themes do you explore?

If I wanted to lay the experience out for readers, in a nicely packaged paragraph, I would have written a short story, or a pamphlet. As it is, I’ve created an interactive playground that involves both structure and chaos. Each audience member will have his or her own experience with the show. You will come with your own joys, hangups, sense of humor and desire. There is the potential to laugh until you have to pee in the theater (it’s happened), to be so surprised you scream (it’s happened), to walk out of the show in disgust (it’s happened), to be moved to tears (it’s happened). Your journey is yours. I can not predict it. Merely facilitate.

Who is Red Bastard? Is he a character you step into or an extension of yourself (or us)?

Red Bastard lives and plays in the Collective Unconscious. He is you, and me, and everyone who has come before. Soon, you will first meet, yet you may feel you have known him since before you can remember. You will bid him adieu, yet you may find him with you for eternity.

You interact with the audience a lot it seems – how do they influence the show? Are there any particular audience members that stick in the mind (if so, why)?

It’s a conversation. There is space for the audience to speak, to move, to think, and to have fun!

Which members remain? There are so many in my memory: The beautiful girl with the missing tooth who got naked for everyone to see. The courageous young man who stood up to someone who had wronged him. The adventurous pregnant woman from who removed her underwear and invited Red Bastard under her dress. The headstrong grey-haired man who had never yet said “I love you” to his father. The lost woman who confessed to live her life as she thought others wanted her to live it. The determined man who quit his job, never to return. The feuding brother who broke 8 years of silence with his sister.

The list goes on and on. These moments I will never forget. Nor will the audiences who witnessed them. They all happened in the theater at the show. I can only imagine what people have done after they left. Don’t miss it - we may never have this opportunity again.

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