Playing over a hundred characters is no easy feat. Commanding an entire stage with one guitar is no simple task. Nothing about the Edinburgh Fringe sell-out one-man one-musician comedy drama Bane looks even remotely possible to imitate, but the guys behind it make everything look so effortless. We couldn’t look away from Joe Bone for the fear of missing one (or two) character changes, and we swore that we could feel our heartbeats thumping along with the tension of Ben Roe‘s guitar.
After their successful opening night in Singapore, we caught up with the small team to find out what exactly does it take to bring a movie alive on stage.
Other than Bruce Bane, which are the other characters you enjoy playing most?
Joe: My top three would start with Victor because he is this crazy scientist with his crooked posture and accent; and then followed by all the women and the wronged Professor Bruce Bane.
What are the influences that perfect all these individual characters?
Joe: There is no practical tuition, but I did study drama and film previously. The blend of the two was quite apt when the play was considered very much like putting film materials onto a drama platform. I did watch a lot of 80’s and 90’s movies like Die Hard and Back To The Future, and they all find themselves into the show somehow. The play is mostly rooted in that film noir, and the rest of it goes towards the screwball.
So how much did we see on stage was scripted or improvised?
Joe: I would probably say that 95% of it was scripted, but it is not scripted in the traditional sense that I would sit down and typewrite it. I would improvise with Ben during rehearsals to come up with scenes, characters, ideas, and that in a way directs the music and sets the soundboard. The play is born out of improvisation, which gives it an extra bit of fizz and energy.
During the starting, we only saw Ben playing a haunting introductory piece for about a minute. Does Ben set the mood of the play with his music, or does the physical actions drive the music to follow?
Ben: Yeah, I am just constantly trying to set Joe in whatever mood he is trying to get out there, and just trying to enhance it. I approach it like a movie soundtrack, where it’s not going to clash or be distracting, but merge into the actions as one thing. It is all about keeping it simple and elevating any emotions.
Are you going to use other instruments apart from the solo guitar?
Ben: No other instruments because we are keeping it really simple. (Laughs)
Let’s talk about Singapore! What local delights have you guys tried so far?
Joe: I had Singaporean noodles, and some incredible pork belly rubbed in five spices. It was beautiful. Slow roasted. Moist. Fantastic.
Ben: I had some braised pork with rice, and it was delicious. Scrumptious. I also had crispy chilli chicken, and that was great. We’re already thinking about what we’re going to eat this evening!
Missed Bane in Singapore? We know they are looking forward to come back with Bane 2 and Bane 4, so keep checking on this spot!