Kaleidoscopic colour and imagination come together in Arts Centre Melbourne’s latest theatrical extravaganza.
Power City is in crisis. While trying to maintain the city’s reputation as the most beautiful city in the world, local hero, Laser Beak Man, loses his superhero ability. The Magna Crystals that lie under the city, and power the superhero’s ability to turn bad to good through his laser beak, are stolen by none other than his arch-nemesis and former best friend, Peter Bartman. How will Laser Beak Man regain his powers and save Power City?
All will be answered this month at Arts Centre Melbourne. From Thursday September 19 to Saturday September 21, the powerful, kaleidoscopic creation of Laser Beak Man will come to life on stage. Derived from the vibrant imagination and drawings of Tim Sharp, an internationally renowned artist who has autism, Laser Beak Man is the superhero tale everyone needs to hear.
“I like superhero movies and I used to play with superhero toys as well when I was kid,” says Sharp. “I made Laser Beak Man up when I was 11 years old… He’s very colourful and very funny. He is a good friend and a hero and he is all of my art.”
In collaboration with Dead Puppets Society’s Artistic Director David Morton, and its Executive Producer Nicholas Paine, the trio present an art spectacular of puppetry, animation, music and effects that has received critical praise since its residency at The New Victory Theater in New York back in 2015.
“We met Tim about five or six years ago when he had an exhibition at Brisbane Powerhouse and we had one of our productions Argus on at the same venue. Instantly we hit it off and knew that we needed to work together,” says Paine. “It’s been an epic journey of working together from that very initial creation period right through to the premiere that was in 2017 with La Boite at Brisbane Festival and now we’re about to embark on this very exciting national tour.”
With the genius of Sharp already established, Morton and Paine were tasked with catapulting the story to life. Not an easy task, the beauty of Laser Beak Man has been in its collaboration.
“I always wanted to see Laser Beak Man come to life; it’s a dream come true for me. Nick and David made it exactly as I dreamed it would be. It is the best show I have ever seen,” exclaims Sharp. “I get to hang out with all of my friends, I get to see the show every night and I get to see my dream come true. I love the music and the puppets and the actors and I’m part of the team.”
Paine echoes, “That’s the best part for us honestly, is having Tim involved. It’s not just using his artwork as inspiration and going off and creating our own work. It’s having him involved as a collaborator in the room with us every single day and being on the road touring with us as well,” says Paine.
Sharp’s infectious personality and skills were the major drawcard for Dead Puppet Society in the beginning. The bold colours, the distinct storyline and consistent characterisation, the valuable messaging and the overall charisma of Sharp’s vision made it an exciting partnership.
“I think the fact for us that Tim has autism is secondary. We wanted to bring the show to life because of his artwork and really highlight what a skilled artist he is. At first glance the colours are what draw you in but as soon as you spend time looking through all of the artwork, it’s his unique approach to his creation of the art.
“The characters are so present throughout all of the drawings that Tim has done too. It’s been a long but rewarding process … It’s been about friendship and love and kindness and inclusion – that’s the most important message for us,” Paine says.
In a live setting the show is a culmination of the arts including 35 original puppets, seven actors, props, animated backdrops, design by Helpmann Award-winner, Jonathon Oxlade, and music by Sam Cromack of Ball Park Music.
“We approached Sam because we thought his work was perfect for the world of Laser Beak Man in terms of the psychedelic nature and the colours and also Tim is a big fan of The Beatles,” says Paine.
“Oh yes I am – I like the Beatles. They’re my favourite band. My favourite Beatles song is ‘Yellow Submarine’.”
That reflects in the similarities of their lively artwork and charm. Fusing all of those elements together, Melbourne, get ready for a rainbow-coloured world of adventure.
“Visually it’s incredibly striking. I think Melbourne is going to absolutely fall in love with it.”
Laser Beak Man comes to Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre from Thursday September 19 to Saturday September 21. Find out more about the performance and grab your tickets via the Arts Centre Melbourne website.