Mark Frost (The Joker) talks about how he gets in character for Batman Live.
Photo by Christopher Braunschweig
Cliff News Net was allowed special access with the stars of Batman Live, a family show that originated in the United Kingdom. We asked the actors who played Batman (George Turvey), Robin (Kamran Darabi-Ford) and The Joker (Mark Frost) how they prepared for their roles and what they enjoy about the Midwest and Sioux City area.
What do you all think of the Midwest so far?
Turvey: I like it! I mean, it’s so different. I have not really experienced much of America in my life. I’m learning new stuff about America all the time. The amazing thing with America compared to England is if you drive from the south to the north [in England] everything is the same. Where as here you can drive for 45 minutes and it’s completely different.
Frost: Great! [It’s] really unusual because a lot of us have not been here [Iowa area] before. We did a big coach drive from Wichita to here—the plains that go on forever are amazing! It’s been great… really good. It feels like bringing Batman home.
What is it like traveling?
Turvey: You cannot really complain, because you are in hotels all the time, you do not have to make your own bed or tidy up after yourself—that’s pretty cool! We fly everywhere, which is great, and when you do not fly you see the countryside. There are obviously downsides to traveling all the time like not being able to cook your own food. But I have seen the world.
Darabi-Ford: There are not many jobs that you can kind of get paid for to travel the world, come to different cities and meet different people. So, I feel really lucky. Everything has been one big elated [and] exciting little balloon for me. It’s a lot of fun.
What sort of training did you all have to go through for Batman Live?
Darabi-Ford: We had a two-week boot camp where we were kind of made to work out solidly. A lot of the flying relies on core strength and abs. We have been doing a lot of [abdominal] work and a lot of rope climbing as well to give us the strength to really pull off a show like this.
Turvey: For the flying, it was just getting used to it. It was something new for me and fairly new for all of us. But it’s a lot of fun! [The trick] is getting used to it and being able to sell it other than anything else *laughs* because you can’t fly in and look like you are unstable.
How is the Batman suit?
Turvey: In the show, there’s a costume change that has to happen in a minute, so four people dress me and I change from Bruce Wayne to Batman. So, there’s a lot to put on and if I was on my own it would take me a hell of a long time.
[The suit] feels like you are wearing all of your items of clothing at the same time. It’s quite tight and you have a harness on underneath, obviously, so you can do all the flying. When you first put it on it feels like quite a big task to take on and pull it off. Which is important because [Batman] is a character that is supposed to be strong, so you cannot be dying on your feet.
Do you all have a favorite part of the show?
Darabi-Ford: The Batmobile—definitely the Batmobile. It was designed by Professor Gordon Murray, who designed a lot of the Formula One cars. There has never been a Batmobile that looks like this. It’s got loads of cool gadgets, fires flares and laser-things!
Turvey: I like the flying, but I think the Batmobile is great [because] it’s a new design of Batmobiles. When it comes out, it’s a really unique car that drives out on stage. When [the Batmobile] comes out, it gets a great reaction from the audience and I feel like, “Yeah!”
How do you prepare yourselves for your characters?
Darabi-Ford: Obviously, we have got our physical warm-up, vocal warm-up and standard practice. I enjoy sitting by myself in a corner somewhere getting myself into a certain headspace. I listen to music that can relate to my character to kind of start that internal fight that I need for the show.
Frost: Well, the make-up helps. An hour and a half in make-up day-in-day-out will try your patience. But by the end of the session, the make-up girls say I kind of get less easy to deal with.
I just have a few triggers, I tend to march around backstage and get myself in the mood. And the wonderful thing about The Joker is that no matter what mood you are in, you can sort of apply it. So, if I have had a dark or troublesome day I can be a little bit more serious and menacing. If I am in a light mood, I can be a bit more playful. He has so many different and wonderful characteristics. I think the great thing about The Joker is that you never know what he’s going to do next. The more spontaneous I can be and [try to] keep things fresh, the better it is.
The main thing is to really have fun. If The Joker’s having fun, by-and-large the audience is having fun as well.
Posted inSubmitted by braunschweigc on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 23:06