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The Man Behind Bane

Friday, February 07, 2014

Performer Joe Bone, who will be performing his show, Bane, in India next weekend, talks to Rhea Dhanbhoora about holding the Guinness World Record for playing the most number of characters in a single play on stage

The creator behind the one-man-one-musician play that’s taken the world by storm, Joe Bone is definitely a talented performer. Here, he talks to us about how Bane was created, working with musician Ben Roe and much more.

You take on so many characters on stage. Tell us about the real Joe Bone!
He’s fairly private. I like exploring new things, laughing and chatting. I can’t say any more than that otherwise I’d be lying in my first sentence!

Tell us about how Bane took shape.
The idea came to me whilst I was at watching a movie. I started playing characters from it and wrote a monologue with this Sam Spade / Marv / John McClane character and grew it by having him interact with other characters (talking to myself). I began to add mime and sound effects, out of necessity to tell the story. Once I had a form to play with, I began writing 10, 20 minute slots… then wanted music, so I called Ben Roe. In the first Bane there are 40, in all three there are 130 different personalities. The first time I performed it was in 2005 at Winchester University and I was so nervous I was actually sick before it. It was an exam for a module that was exploring comedy techniques. I was a bit of a loner because I commuted in from Southampton, so no one really knew me and I felt I had no pals in the audience. But, it went well.

How did you rope Ben Roe in?
Cash. Cold, hard cash. No. Fame; all fame. No, I actually met Ben at school and he would play guitar quietly in a corner; before Bane he had never played live! He’s got his own unique finger picking style, which is soft and subtle.

Why play so many characters?!
The initial idea wasn't focused on lots of characters, it was about telling a fun story about a hit man. As the story grew the characters increased. It’s a happy mistake.


Tell us about the graphic novel, DVD, and you’re also on TV…
There was an offer to make a Bane episode, but I turned it down. I’m writing for TV now, so we’ll see how that goes. The graphic novel is something I've always wanted to do. It’s about finding the right artist and the right time. I've got a BBC drama coming out soon that I acted in; it’s called Castles in the Sky and I got to work with great people for a month in Scotland. I recently got an agent and this was the first job. It comes out in the summer so watch out! Hopefully I’ll be doing more things like this when I finish touring in June.

Are you excited to be performing in India?
I can’t wait to perform in India; it’s going to be amazing. The people, the places, the culture and of course, the food!

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everywhere. I love watching other people’s stuff. Movies, TV, theatre shows, music, books, news. But it’s people and their stories that’s the most fascinating. When you meet nice people all over the world, all of a sudden the world gets cosier and smaller. I love it. Influences are Abbot and Costello, Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Robert Zemeckis and Simon Schama.

*Catch Bane on February 14 at St. Andrews in Bandra at 7.30pm and February 16 at Tata Theatre at the NCPA at 7pm. Tickets cost Rs 350, Rs 500, Rs 700, Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200.

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