A day ahead of “Bane” at PJ Live Arts, Jaya One, we got to speak to Joe Bone, the man behind the entire film noir parody series. That’s right. One man, many voices, many characters (about 79, to be precise), many talents, and many words. We got down to the basics of the entire production of “Bane” with Joe, and questioned him on his creative production which has since gone on to earn him not only recognition but also a Guinness world record.
We’ll now let him leave you in awe:
Bane sounds like an emotionally intense performance. What is your own relationship with Bane when you step off the stage? Do you dream of him at night?
“No, I don’t (laughs). But I certainly come up with extra ideas for Bane when I’m offstage. They could be funny scenes and also moments where I can pull out slightly more, like a different side of Bane that the audience has never seen. Perhaps sometimes, I could do scenes that wouldn’t necessary fit into the story but I want to show the audience what kind of character Bruce Bane is at heart. I don’t dream about Bane though. Who knows? I’m performing it for a couple of years at least, I might dream of him yet!”
Could you tell us a bit more about that turning point when you decided that not only would you take on Bane, but perform all the characters yourself? It seems like a pretty wild decision to make.
“The decision was made as the train was coming, then I laid the tracks down. I decided to do this five minute thing at university and suddenly I went..uh, now I play other characters? And so I just started to do that. It wasn’t necessarily a grand plan. I didn’t have a specific goal in mind. I kind of built it as I was going along. I remember the decision to do the full hour long show. That was a tricky decision, but one I was excited by. I thought, if I had music in this show as well, maybe they would be interested to stay for an hour. As soon as I added the music, it just kind of grew. I’m going to do an hour now, I don’t know what’s going to happen! And when I did it, and I realized, oh, it works! People don’t think I’m insane! I think that was the most important thing.”
What is one thing that you would do that Bane would never do? And what is the one thing Bane would do that you would never do?
“Hmm..I would order a peppermint tea in a restaurant. Bane would never order a peppermint tea in a restaurant. He’d order a hard whisky, or something strange like a glass of milk. Bane would shoot someone in the face.”
Imagine you were screening a film marathon to prep people for the world of Bane. Which films would make the list?
“Hmm, good question. I would probably say the Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and then Die Hard, Naked Gun, and Sin City. Oh, and Back To The Future!”
The whole trilogy?
“Why not? You could always do with an excuse to watch Back To The Future. (Laughs) I might watch this movie list myself before I do the shows.”
You’re great with accents, but were you always very good at making sound effects?
“I kind of just made sound effects because I had to. So if I wanted the character to smoke, I’d make this lighter sound. I had no other way to do it and it kind of worked. Often the sound effects are a little crude, but because I ally them with a mime the audience can create the image in their heads about what’s happening onstage with a little bit more ease. The sound effect plus the mime plus the music, the lighting, costume, can go some way into nudging the audience into the world you’re hoping they can follow you through.”
I noticed your Twitter profile bio. Any particular items of clothing and boots on your wishlist?
“(Laughs) That’s a quote I changed from Terminator II. Maybe stick that into the marathon list too! He says, I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle. I changed it to..and your sense of purpose in life. Being a performer, going around the world, I don’t know – there’s this odd sense of is this allowed or not? It doesn’t feel like I’m working. I feel very fortunate to be able to travel to places and then perform to audiences and experience new things, people and places. The sense of purpose in life I suppose is a cheap shot into how perhaps I should live my life.”
What have been your most memorable audience reactions to Bane?
“The proudest I ever was when I did Bane 3 at the Brighton Festival. It was a sold out crowd and I was so nervous because they had commissioned it. For the first time, I felt as though if it went badly, I’m not letting myself down and Ben down, I’m letting all these people down that have put their faith in us and provided us with materials and guidance and financial support to create this new show so I was so nervous that this would be a disaster. At the end there was a rapturous applause and standing ovations and I was overwhelmed by that particular show. There was a lot of pressure that dripped off me after the show. I can’t remember what I did after the show, I probably got incredibly drunk somewhere. That’s probably why I can’t remember, I have no recollection whatsoever of what happened after. But they were the finest audience definitely.”
What is one thing you would like Malaysian audiences to take away from your show?
“Probably a sense of entertainment and a smile on their faces. Bane doesn’t necessarily have a lot to say. It’s more of a spectacle. The fact that I’m trying to create a movie onstage with no props, no set, very little change in lighting and Ben soundtracking it all live becomes an intriguing experiment. I hope they find that entertaining.”