From the bizarre mind of Australian Fringe-favourite Shane Adamczak (The Big HOO-HAA, Zack Adams, 4x Canadian Just For Laughs Award Nominee and producer of the Award-winning ★★★★★ Fringe hits This Is Not A Love Song (by Greg Fleet) and Vicious Circles) comes a brand new buddy-comedy about a man who lives in another man’s beard.
After sell out runs in Montreal (where it was won the coveted Just For Laughs (Best Comedy) Award), Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and a critically acclaimed run in Canada; The Ballad Of Frank Allen is finally making its Sydney debut July 26th to 28th as part of the 2018 Bondi Feast!
We know you comedy and sci-fi fans are excited, so we asked Weeping Spoon Productions writer/producer/performer Shane Adamczak a few questions.
You wrote this? Is it totally scripted? Or is there an element of improv?
It’s a scripted show based on a short-story series I wrote a few years when I was living in Montreal. There was never MEANT to be any improv in it, but as we’ve done the show for so long now (almost two and half years) we’ve found lots of fun moments where we tend to adlib a little and drag parts out in an attempt to try make each other laugh, which keep the show fresh and exciting for us both. St John and I are both improvisers so sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.
How on earth (or should I say beard) did you come up with this inspiration?
It’s all based around life events of my real friend Al, who is a great performer, known for his mighty beard. I started writing a series of shorts about a man living in the beard for a website we both worked for and I just fell in love with the absurdity of the concept and decided to adapt it into a play. It’s the kind of show that we realised that if the audience was willing to suspend disbelief and come on this bizarre journey with us, we have a lot of room to play and have fun with it. I think that really shows in our performances.
The show is about an "unlikely friendship". How did you and St John Cowcher meet? Tell me it's something more interesting than audition?
We actually met working on a puppet show back in 2010. It was a physically demanding show that none of us particularly enjoyed working on as it was hot costumes, heavy, awkward puppets and long rehearsals. So we were all forever bonded by our hatred of the show that we all became good mates after that. St John was also later cast into my improv troupe The Big HOO-HAA in Perth. I wrote this role with St John in mind.
I've done my apprenticeship watching 'schlock' and this seems to hit the sci-fi bill as much as a comedy? What do you feel about that word and the application to your show?
Oh it’s perfect. I’m a big fan of creating big stories on a shoe-string budget and trusting the audience’s intelligence enough that we don’t need to have big-budget sets and costumes. There’s just something more honest about a show that doesn’t rely on too many bells and whistles to sell a story. We rely heavily on the strength of the script, our performances and we’re both experienced physical performances who enjoying working together and playing around with an audience.
The Ballad Of Frank Allen is coming to Sydney for the first time? FInally! Will we see any local Bondi adjustments in the performance?
There’s not too many references we need to adapt based on where we are. We did the show in New Zealand earlier this year and ha d to make a few adjustment s for the Kiwis, but I’m sure we’ll end up throwing in some local jokes to try throw each other off and undermined our own supposed professionalism. Don’t tell St John I said that though.