Next week in The Drum we welcome the return of Gonzo Moose Theatre with The Thing That Came From Over There. Inspired by the Horror movies of the 1950s, this new show is a fast-paced rollicking ride, mixing paranoia, suspense and hilariously gruesome deaths. Gonzo Moose return to The Drum following their 2014 Christmas production What The Dickens? Our latest blog post comes from Mark Dawson (Artistic Director) for Gonzo Moose:
Our initial inspiration for, The Thing That Came From Over There was the wish to do a comedy based around Antarctica. The most famous Antarctic explorer is off course, Captain Scott. We began playing around with the idea of doing a comedy show about Scott and his race to the South Pole against the Norwegian, Amundsen. However we quickly realised the story is just too tragic and sad to spoof or parody without being disrespectful. So we created our own explorer. A third man who was in the race to the Pole – Captain Reginald Cranston Scottt (three t’s).
As we played around with what it might be like to be in Antarctica we realised the isolation and desolation of the landscape lent itself really well to horror – in Antarctica no one can hear you scream because there’s no one else there. As well as the obvious b-movie horror genre, there is the writing of HP Lovecraft who set several of his short stories in Antarctica (the most famous of which is, At the Mountains of Madness). Edgar Allen Poe also wrote a horror story about the Antarctic called, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. And even Jules Vern got in on the act with his, The Sphinx in the Ice-fields.
During our research, we also came across conspiracy theories on the internet about the Antarctic and aliens. Aliens landed there in the mid-20th century and established bases from which they plan to launch an attack on earth. So we had the idea of bringing these three elements together – the third explorer, the conspiracy theory about an alien invasion and the horror genre.
The structure of the show is very simple. We just follow the rules of a horror b-movie. Scottt (three t’s) has a crew of 10. We meet them as they arrive in Antarctica and begin preparing for their race. We then watch as each gets killed by the alien in increasingly stupid and bizarre ways. The most challenging bit of making the show was creating the alien for the final showdown with Scottt (three t’s). It needed to be large enough to be impressive so we knew it was going to be some of form of puppet but we didn’t just want to bring on a giant puppet of an alien. We wanted a more organic way of creating it so we set about seeing if it could be made from bringing different props together and manipulating them in a way that creates the illusion of an alien puppet. This was very new to us as none of use are trained puppeteers but I think what we came up with is impressive whilst still being really silly and keeping with the Gonzo Moose style.
We’re really excited about coming back to The Theatre Royal Plymouth. We first played in The Drum during Christmas 2014 with our Dickensian comedy thriller,_ What The Dickens?_ It will be great to come back with The Thing That Came From Over There so the people of Plymouth can see what we’ve been up to over the last two years.