After discovering a comet hurtling towards Earth, Toby snaps and turns into the action hero in his own movie on a mission to save the world from impending doom. Flashback a year: Toby is knocked off course when somebody crashes into his life. Catching Comets is a new show by multi award-winning Ransack Theatre that asks how we’re supposed to be big, brave and strong when we look and sound nothing like the heroes we grew up with on our screens. Written and directed by Piers Black, The Fountain caught up with Piers to discuss the show in more depth.
TF: Are you excited to be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year?
It’s been almost eight years since members of the company were last there together; you have to go back to our university days. So we’re very excited to be performing at Edinburgh Fringe this year.
TF: Catching Comets certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
It’s a disaster movie about falling in love.
It’s a storytelling piece about this guy Toby falling in love and feeling unworthy, but there’s also a comet heading towards earth, and Toby takes on the responsibility to stop it and save the world from impending doom. He turns into an action hero in his own movie replete with motorbikes, helicopters, catchphrases, evil henchmen, an array of weapons and a badass attitude.
It’s funny and heart-warming and there’s a comet.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
Recent blockbuster remakes and popular culture reboots were quite a big influence. There are loads happening! And of course, it can be fun to be nostalgic. But really it made us revisit a lot of the heroes that we grew up with, as well as some more recent silver-screen heroes. Most of them are terrible role models for reality. And yet they are still being treated like the ultimate example of what it means to be heroic to the extent that they get rebooted and fed to us again and again. So we’ve been thinking a lot about the heroes we watch and how they relate to our own vulnerability.
The Simpsons were also a big influence (the earlier seasons), mostly as an antidote to the big blockbuster heroes. We like Homer because he’s fallible and, more often than not, he owns it.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
We have, but it was a long time ago and we were different people. Well, younger people, so what we want to see and do might have changed a little, and maybe the Fringe would’ve changed a bit too. Word of mouth is always a really good way of seeing something new and weird, so we’re looking forward to getting up there and diving straight in. Aside from shows, we are keen to trek up to Arthur’s Seat (on a good day) and to eat at Kim’s Mini Meals.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Catching Comets?
We have irons to fire. And a world to save.
You can see Catching Comets at Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker Two at 13:45 for the month of August. For tickets, please visit https://tickets.edfringe.com