Culture | Starman
Fringe World Festival 2015
The Pleasure Garden
Sadly 31 days of the Fringe World festival 2015 has come to a tearful end. Throughout January and February Perth was brought to life with exciting cabaret, comedy, circus, theater, art and music activities in the city and its surrounds. My second Fringe adventure was at the aptly named Pleasure Garden. Nestled on the edge of Northbridge the Pleasure Garden played host to a creative assortment of the crazy, wonderful, unexpected, wild, and a little ridiculous. Alive with activity and culture Starman a one-man show by Ken Fanning sets fringe in a spin. Hailing from Ireland, I interviewed Ken to get a better insight into the man behind the shining star and what motivated him to create this marvellous show punctuated with laughter, drama, cardboard, stars and spectacular tumble.
DB: Ken I was wondering to get a better appreciation for the background of the show can you tell me how Starman came about?
I actually created Starman for the Dublin Fringe Festival last September. I gave myself a week to make the show with no money,it was a sort of personal challenge. I was also sick of artists telling me it is impossible to create work without financial support. The main inspiration for the show came when I went to see a play at my 8-year-old son’s school, and they had some of the kids dressed up as dancing stars. Their star costumes were so terrible and cheap and straight away I thought I wanted an adult-sized one. I couldn’t find an adult-sized one so I made one out of cardboard, and the Starman was born.
DB: Did you really meet David Bowie, or was that a fictional encounter that inspired the show?
KF: The show is based on a true story about a bass player from Dublin who I met one night. He was in New York at a small jazz club where Woody Allen (whoplays jazz clarinet) was playing and was lucky enough to be asked on stage to play bass with him.
DB: As you also perform in Tumble Circus, was producing your own show something you had always hoped to do?
Making a solo show has been in the back of my mind for ages, but being on tour and being a dad meant finding the time to do it was always hard. But last year Tumble Circus slowed down because of babies and being a bit burnt-out by the touring, and so the time and headspace appeared for me to make a solo show.
DB: How long does it take to put together a one-man show and how long do you rehearse for?
KF: One week, but also 20 years.
DB: Are you happy with the success that Starman has had during Fringe?
KF: I love the Perth Fringe, I been coming to Perth for over 15 years and have performed at nearly all the Fringes. Perth Fringe still is a festival where unusual and quirky artists from around the world can come and show their work to an open and friendly audience.
DB: What can we expect to see from you in the future? More solo ventures?
The future for me is more touring ,Tumble Circus will do a tour in Europe in the summer of 2015, and we are planning a new 5-person show to tour in 2016 in our Big Top.
DB: Where can people catch you in the not so distant future?
KF: With my solo show, I am planning a few shows in Ireland, and maybe a few shows in Europe, but at the moment nothing is confirmed. I used Perth Fringe Festival as a barometer to see if I want to do the show again the response was very positive and I really enjoyed myself. I will spend the next few months trying to find some more touring for the Starman.
DB: Where did you train as a performer and do you have any nuggets of wisdom to those out there wishing to perform and are too afraid to chase their dreams?
KF: I have been to several circus schools and many short training programs and festivals. My big piece of advice is to go to circus school ‹ its big toys for big kids and don’t wait to do it. Don’t think, I will do it later in life after I get my degree in accounting, just do it now. Remember if you have something to fall back on, you will fall back on it.
Starman is a heavenly mix of circus, comedy and cardboard. Ken will hopefully be performing Starman in venues throughout Ireland. Emerging boutique festival that now rival Electric Picnic in the good old days would be an ideal locations to catch this show. If you are looking for a night packed with humour, a tight glittery outfit sprinkled with my favourite Frames song Star Star then make sure you grab a ticket and see Starman.