INTERVIEW: Rosa Garland and Alice Boyd on ‘Two Super Super Hot Men’

I caught up with award-winning theatre makers Alice Boyd and Rosa Garland on their new show at VAULT Festival, Two Super Super Hot Men.  A clown show about climate change, middle-aged foley artists Alan and Ron, and a plant called Carol.

Tell us a bit about your show, Two Super Super Hot Men?

Two Super Super Hot Men follows Alan and Ron, two hapless clown characters. They are loveable buffoons who are a bit late to the party when it comes to issues with a capital ‘I’. They spend their days working as foley artists, creating noises out of strange objects in order to soundtrack films. However, something strange is going on, and it seems to be getting in the way of their beloved routine (foley, tea, water the plant, repeat). 

As they set out to work on a climate documentary, they can’t ignore the rising temperature in their studio. There’s sand in the kettle and the milk has gone off. The question is, how long can they go before they need to change? Can they go on like this forever?

Where did the idea come from?

We knew we wanted to make a show about the climate crisis, and we found it interesting exploring this from the viewpoint of the people who would be least affected by it. As middle-aged men living in the UK, Alan and Ron are going to avoid the worst effects of the issue. We wanted to think about how an issue so devastating but intangible could be understood by these characters. 

Comedy is a really important communication tool, and when it comes to serious topics, laughter can be just the communal activity needed to relieve tension. Through drag, we are able to explore the issue of climate change in a way that is accessible, non-judgmental and (hopefully) pant-wettingly hilarious.

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In rehearsal | Image by Adapt

You play men in the show – where did these characters come from?

Alan and Ron were born on a trip to a vintage shop in Edinburgh. There we were, browsing the aisles, when out jumped the most outrageous Hawaiian shirts we had ever seen… the rest was history. All we needed next were cargo trousers, some black eyeliner to draw on our (very handsome) moustaches, and Alan’s infamous sandals. 

We looked to our favourite TV shows for inspiration, keeping an eye out for duos that we think are hilarious. Some of our favourites include Stath and Al from Stath Lets Flats, Kerry and Kurtan from This Country, and Spongebob and Patrick… need we say more?

You’re both known for your work with the award-winning company Poltergeist – how has it been working as a duo?

Our previous work together has been with Poltergeist. Our shows, Lights Over Tesco Car Park and Art Heist have worked really well for audiences of all ages, being playful, while having a strong intellectual core.

From this previous experience, we were really keen to try something as a duo, pushing ourselves to be sillier and more political (an oxymoron perhaps… but a welcome challenge). Throughout the process, we have been getting to know how we work together as collaborators, while also developing new skills, such as clowning. As artistic directors of the project, we are also learning that it takes a lot of hard work to put on a show, however, we’re loving the journey.

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In rehearsal | Image by Adapt

What are you rehearsal room must-haves?

Endless cups of tea, a song each for silly dancing as a warm up, and as many second-hand props as possible. Everyday, we take turns making a packed lunch for the two of us. It works out much cheaper and makes sure we keep those pesky plastics out of the rehearsal rooms.

Any recommendations for this year’s VAULT Festival?

We loved motherEarth, which was on earlier in the festival. Definitely go and see Lewis Doherty’s amazing show ‘Wolf’ if you can! It’s a “A one man cyberpunk action thriller movie on stage”, and one of the best things we saw at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018. We also recommend ‘V&V’, WORK.txt, and Brainchild’s plant-themed party ‘Let Me Be Your Plantasy’.

What does the future hold for the piece?

We are taking it to Brighton Fringe (1st-3rd May), and then we’re heading up to Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer! Recently, we performed a short cabaret at ‘Extinction Underground, a late night party at VAULT Festival organised by Extinction Rebellion, Culture Declares Emergency and Music Declares Emergency. Need a climate comedy duo at your event? Alan and Ron are ready to party!

You can book to see Two Super Super Hot Men at VAULT Festival here, and for Brighton Fringe here. You can also keep up to date with the pair on Twitter, Instagram and their website.

Images by Adapt

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