Vancouver Fringe Festival 2016 Preview – I Forgot to Fly Today
August 21, 2016
You’ve known him as the, “Man like no man else,” but this summer you’re about to see a whole new shade of Trent Baumann. Better known to Victoria Fringe as The Birdmann, this Australian masterclass eccentric is letting go of one persona for another for the debut of his highly anticipated new show, I Forgot to Fly Today. So what’s life look life after The Birdmann? Trent was kind enough to clue Showbill.ca’s Matt McLaren in.
Matt McLaren: I gotta say, I’m kind of honoured that you’ve chosen British Columbia for the world premiere of I Forgot to Fly Today. So why is the West Coast deserving of this honor?
Trent Baumann: After touring most of my life, I have learnt to go where I am not just tolerated, but hopefully celebrated. Last year I sold out every one of my shows at Fringe, and this year I hope to break that record and sell out my show, and then everyone else’s too.
MM: At this point, your Birdmann persona is a legend. I’ve asked many longtime Fringe artists whether they’re afraid of becoming pigeonholed and creatively stagnant. This being a break into new territory, were you afraid of that stagnation?
TB: Straight after filming my major show, The Birdmann ‘LIVE,’ and doing 99 appearances at the Adelaide Fringe, I flew to Mexico with none of my original costumes or props and only the clothes I was wearing. There I met my main collaborator/composer Sachie. I needed to go somewhere different. It just needed to be done. So, I made a new thing. It is still growing, and hopefully I am too. That is the main thing that I am afraid of, that I won’t keep growing. I hope the audience likes it too, and we grow together, and then all go out for tacos.
MM: Your press release describes this show as a “theatrical human nature documentary.” Could you unpack that for us?
TB: Since the dawn of man, there has usually been a dark night before it. I Forgot to Fly Today follows a day in the life of a man who decides to have the day of his life. Witness how the internal thoughts are expressed externally through comic acts and cool lines that appear like a motivational thought bubble, culminating in the finale, where I actually climb inside a five foot balloon.
MM: In your work, clown logic seems to be at play – reacting in, rather than preparing for, the moment.
TB: Truthfully I made a life decision a long time ago to follow the illogical, and evidently I often found myself in the corner of a room being hit with a stick by one of my mentors, saying it was going to be a dangerous path, though I just thought it would be funny. Many years later I am joined by many of my colleagues in a contemporary book on the form that was just released, called Clownland.
MM: I’m not going to ask if stepping into something new was hard, because in my experience it always is – breaking new habits and making new ones. What I want to know is, what was hardest?
TB: I tend to do what I can, and then I do more. This show has the first act I ever made, over 15 years ago, and some jokes I wrote on the plane flying out from Australia. So the old meets the new, and I hope they get along and the audience likes to meet them too.
MM: I hope the insinuations in your press release that this will be your last Canadian tour are lies.
TB: The media will print anything. Especially if I write it.
MM: If this show could succeed at one thing, what would that be?
TB: That it will be better every time I do it, as then I will have something to look forward to tomorrow.
MM: Why should audiences come and see I Forgot to Fly Today?
TB: The Internet just went down.