Ideas Bobert at UNO Fest 2018. Interview with Candice Roberts.

Ideas Bobert at UNO Fest 2018. Interview with Candice Roberts.

Did you miss Ideas Bobert at the 2016 Victoria Fringe Festival? If so, here’s your chance to see the show–it’s coming to UNO Fest Sunday May 13th as part of the new Family Fest series, presented in partnership with Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People.  I did see the show in 2016 and even if you don’t have kids, I’d encourage you to borrow some, or even attend on your own.

What sparked the creation of this show? Is this your first one person show?

I have been a co-creator of ensemble shows for many years and I always knew that I wanted the satisfaction and self-sustaining ability to have my own solo work. I took a course at Langara College taught by TJ Dawe designed to build a solo show and during the course I wrote a piece for one of my characters called “Lunch Lesson’s with Loretta”.

It was a great process of learning about how and what and why, but then at the start of the New Year I attended my very first silent meditation retreat and a new idea for a show came to me out of the silence.

During the first 3 days while I was supposed to be “meditating”, the character of IDEAS BOBERT entered my being.

I was delighted by the idea of conundrum, and hope in the face of failure. I was enchanted by the idea of his heart being a living bird in his chest. I wanted to create a deeply lovable and innocent character that people could emotionally relate to. I wanted to include all my passions such as tap dancing, stage craft and physical theatre.

The ideas were silly and preposterous but the underlying sentiments were profound. Ideas Bobert became a question of:

“What happens if we deny our deepest desires and dreams?”

In Bobert’s case, by ignoring his heart, the bird becomes terribly ill. This is drama, but for me it is truth. As is the case for many comedy artists, I have struggled with depression but have found a way out through self-expression, community and creativity.

Charlie Chaplin once said: “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it”

When I returned from the meditation retreat I got to work. I found the process very challenging and discovered that I needed an “outside eye” and help from my creative community. In the creation process I reached out, and received support from my tap dance teacher, my clown teacher, a stop motion animation creator and my professional theatre peers (including Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles of James and Jamesy duo, Kat Single-Dain, Nayana Fielkov of Ragmop Theatre, Raj Gil and A Raven Called Crow).

It takes a whole community to create a solo show.

When did you debut the show (or is this its debut), and how has it changed since the debut?

I actually debuted IDEAS BOBERT at the Victoria Fringe Festival 2016. Since that first debut, I have added an interactive shadow puppet sequence that has turned out to be an audience favorite.

Throughout the last year I have trimmed the fat of excess non-essential aspects and have drawn out or extended the connected moments of play. There is also now a crying-clarinet moment when Bobert reconnects to his creative self to bring his heart back to life.

Since the inception, Bobert’s character has become stronger and his fantastic world more established and alive. The beauty of clown work is in the extraordinary presence and connection we can make together with an audience. As we learn in clown school, Nothing never happens… and the nothing, the in-between parts can be the most delightful and alive parts of a show.

Can you comment on the design aspect of your show, its esthetic?

I built all of the props and puppets in IDEAS BOBERT. One of my favorite pieces is his tiny bed and his tiny chair. I love playing with props of an absurd scale; either too big or too small.

The esthetic of the show is inspired by the past. I am a huge fan of vintage music, dance and film. I use a suitcase record player that plays ragtime piano and gypsy jazz of the 1920s and Bobert uses an old rotary phone. When I performed this at a school in Vancouver last year one of the first questions asked was: What is that big machine? (the record player).

There are stop motion animation “dream” projections that have “silent picture” elements. Bobert’s character is inspired by clown masters Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton where innocence and constant conundrum require outside-of-the-box creative thinking and of course, clown logic.

What do you hope to inspire in your audience?

Love….and within that love? I hope to inspire magic and awe.. and awwwww. A reminder of how important it is to be in touch with our creative selves and to listen with our hearts. I hope to inspire a good ol’ deep belly laugh, a tender tear and a feeling of being connected with each other.

Who will be interested as a potential audience member?  What would you say to entice someone to come?

This show is for anyone who likes to laugh, appreciates creativity, or desires more creativity in their lives. It is fit for all ages, from 4 to 104. It is for you if you like vintage music, tap-dance, preposterous situations and dreamy surrealism….

What’s next?

I am now working on an exciting new piece called GET LUCKY that will premiere JUNE 1st at the Toronto Clown Festival. I’m very proud of this new show. It is edgy, provocative and “mind blowing”. (To quote a number of audience members seeing previews)

JUNE 2018 Toronto Clown Fest: GET LUCKY

JULY 2018 Regina Fringe: IDEAS BOBERT

JULY 2018 Winnipeg Fringe: IDEAS BOBERT

SEPT 2018 Edmonton Clown Fest: GET LUCKY

Preparing to tour the BC school system with ARTSTARTS for IDEAS BOBERT for 2019

Significant accolades or awards?

Mayor’s ARTS award 2014 for Community Engaged Arts

Fingers crossed for GRANT awards BCAC and CCAC for developing my new show!

Big money! Big money!

Is there anything I haven’t asked you that it would be important to know?

Clown school saved my life! You can read about it here:

I have worked 15 years as a mental health support with people struggling with mental health and addiction issues. I have learned that opposite of addiction is connection so I have been working at creating environments that offer more moments for connection.

In this I have started Kinder-clown for 4-5 year olds and Clowning for Kids (6-10 year old). These classes work and play with building healthy mindsets and thriving community from the get-go! We do this through fun games and exercises that contribute to developing

  • -self-confidence, self-identity (creative communication, creative thinking)
  • -community identity (listening, collaborating, and supporting each other)
  • -emotional and physical awareness (it’s ok FEEL!)
  • -exploring eye contact, “seeing and being seen” (it’s ok to FEEL AWKWARD)

I consider myself a mental health activist and feel passionate about promoting more societal space for extreme feelings. I am keen on community driven solutions that challenge the stigma of mental health and addiction issues.

I’ve been developing and sharing a keynote presentation around Re-imagining Mental Health:

Ideas Bobert by Candy Bones Theatre performed by Candice Roberts
UNO Fest 2018
May 13 at 2pm
Metro Studio Theatre, 1411 Quadra Street
Tickets:  $15 children and students $7
Rating: Ages 6-12
Genre: Comedy/Puppetry/Family Series/Multimedia
Duration: 50 minutes

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.

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