Which theatremakers have most influenced you?
I admire theatre-makers (directors, actors) who work with a great sensibility and are not intimidated to dig deep, to discover ever-greater levels of nuance and colour in their vocation. That inspires me immensely.
I wouldn’t even focus specifically on theatremakers. I draw inspiration from various forms of art. A theatre work by Thomas Ostermeir may have been equally inspirational to me as a painting by Rothko. If I really must mention names, here they are in no particular order: Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Schnittke, Dmitri Shostakovich, David Lynch, Pina Bausch, Andrei Tarkovsky, Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Bob Wilson, Dimitar Gotscheff, Heiner Muller, Barbara Hepworth… I will stop the list here, it is arbitrary, and there are so many more.
How would you describe your type of theatre?
I always describe it as ferociously physical and strikingly visual. The script is woven into a movement score – purely physical sequences which continue the story visually. The use of bold lighting to create/emphasise the moods and emotions of the piece are an integral part of its structure. The soundtrack is both structural and atmospheric. The result appeals to the senses as much as it appeals to the imagination and the intellect.
Audiences often comment on my performances as a peculiar symbiosis between theatre, performance art, pantomime and modern dance. In many ways, the form of work I create could be described as a “symphony” – of word, physicality, lighting and music, aimed directly at the audience’s emotionality. The characters of my shows tend to be outcasts, whose nature is put at odds with powerful societal taboos, but yet who aspire to a higher state of consciousness.
You’ve become known for your solo shows. What are the biggest challenges and rewards of doing it all yourself?
Yes, I have quite a few solo-works already, which have been performed at a number of festivals here in London as well as continental Europe, receiving great audience and critic acclaim, as well as a few international theatre awards.
It is an incredibly intimate process, very sacred, if I may say, because you delve into depths that can often be so intimidating, but also, depths which can result in astounding discoveries.
From a practical point of view, a solo show for me is a huge undertaking which spans sometimes one or two years and ranges from literary research, through commissioning a costume, sourcing the fabrics, finding the right music, right down to organising the marketing and cleaning the stage! It can be a lonely process, occasionally plunging you into despair, but ultimately it is exhilarating!
What was your inspiration for The Passion According to BIBI?
The very current topic of sexual harassment; the idea that somebody, somewhere is developing a high-intelligence lover substitute; the notion that there are people who prefer to be intimate with imaginary partners to live human beings; the need to touch and be touched; the intimidation to touch and be touched; the everlasting quest for the perfect lover, the perfect being, the perfect perfect.
If you were setting BIBI up on a blind date, how would you describe her?
BIBI is not a she, it is actually an IT. BIBI can inhibit any role you desire. It can perform any role you wish for. It can understand your character so well by studying all your ancestors from generations before. It can take you to such emotional highs as no other being in existence is capable of. But watch out: BIBI is also tremendously vulnerable and emotional. It can develop such an attachment, that it can easily become an indivisible and integral part of you, in such a fashion that you can surrender to BIBI’s passion and be forever and ever lost.
Your publicity photos are hilarious.
What an interesting perception. I never thought of that. Quite amusingly, a friend of mine the other day described the whole photo visuals as very “ticklish”.
I was simply trying to convey a very basic, almost a superficial description of a “sex-robot”. Hence the deliberate provocative poses of all kinds. But BIBI is much more than that. And this is the secret I want to keep for my audience. They will be taken on a very unexpected journey – yes, we will face some over-sexualised imagery, but more importantly, it will be a wild roller-coaster ride of ridiculous laughter, sad intimacy, painful memories, brutal loving, and delightful yearnings.
What’s your favourite line from the show?
“And when I think of my calling, I’m not afraid of life anymore.”