Danielle Georgiou Dance Group reimagines Halloween variety show for a virtual audience
By Cristee Cook
Danielle Georgiou Dance Group returns with their hilarious and meta-theatrical The Bippy Bobby Boo Show, this year with a new feature. Streaming live October 23-October 31, with an Election Day special on November 3. The Bippy Boppy Boo Show: 2020 Call-In Special, will livestream from Theatre Three, with a new show each night, offering virtual audiences a chance to interact with the ghosts in the style of a 1960’s telethon special - still packed with Bippy Bobby's trademark sardonic humor and cocktail party glamour.
For anyone who missed it, in October 2019, The Bippy Bobby Boo Show took place in Theatre Three’s basement performance space. The variety show was performed by the ghosts of Theatre Too, who have taken up residence in the basement. Their performance was based on the plays they've watched over the past 50 years, and the ghosts paid homage to some of the earliest productions at Theatre Three. This year, the ghosts have a new focus.
Dallas Art Beat asked DGDG’s Danielle Georgiou (Writer, Director, and Choreographer) and Justin Locklear (Writer and Composer) some questions about this year’s The Bippy Bobby Boo Show" 2020 Call-In Special, how they’re creating a virtual event that relies on audience feedback, and how they’re tackling comedy during a year with so much strife.
How have your reimagined the play for 2020?
DG: We wanted to do something that was still interactive. For last year’s show, we really relied on the audience booing to summon Bippy Bobby, and to also create this really bizarre environment. We knew that we were going to do the show livestreaming, so we thought what's another type of late-night television show offering that we could reference? We had the idea of a telethon, except instead of raising money, we'll raise boos. So, we got a phone number specifically for the show. We'll have moments in the show where we'll blast the phone number, and we want people to call and boo at Bippy Bobby’s terrible jokes. They can also call in to tell Bippy Bobby a joke.
Besides the audience calling in to the livestream, what other changes are in the show this year?
JL: There's been a lot of paranormal activity since last year, and our familiar, Nick, may have gotten into a bit of trouble.
DG: Nick still really wants to be a ghost. And since it didn't work for him last year, he has a whole new way of trying to become a ghost this year. And there'll be hi-jinks and other bizarre things that happen because Nick has decided to recruit another friend to help him become a ghost.
Since the shutdowns of live theatre, we’ve seen performance companies create theatre for a virtual audience in a variety of ways: theatre on film and drive-in theatre, for example. How are you tackling the challenge of creating a live performance for a virtual audience?
DG: We're actually doing it a little like Saturday Night Live, with prerecorded and live elements. We are shooting a lot of prerecorded material. So, we've had a script writing process and rehearsal of the live portions, and also filming. It's a more complicated process because now we're learning technology for live stream, and we're working with multiple cameras, and organizing all of our prerecorded material, and building all of those sets for that.
How else are you expanding the show this year?
DG: All of the actors are at different times helping to contribute to scenes, which is different from last year, which was really just Justin and I. This time around the actors are heavily contributing their own sketches to the show. And basically, we're writing six scripts for each show.
JL: If you watch a different night, you might get some similar material, but still have a new experience every night. We asked: what’s a resource that we have that could really make it a new, fresh experience every night? [So, we decided to] ask our cast what they're interested in performing and producing and writing. We wanted to incorporate our artists more in the process so that they get more experience and have an opportunity to do more writing than they would otherwise.
2020 has been such an intense year that it can be hard to find a sense of humor in any of it. How are you handling some of the more challenging events or subjects that might come up?
JL: Well, the ghosts are not affected by what’s happening in the world. So, there's a certain sarcasm that they employ. And I think that is revealing of people [in our society right now] who are detached from reality.
DG: Our election day special is funny, but it’s also exploring the theme of choice. The theme of choice has been one of our overarching narrative points. One of the reasons why we went ahead and decided to do an election day special is from all of our research of the 60’s television shows - specifically Laugh-In, which is a very political, comedic variety show. When we started watching episodes, we saw a lot of similarities between the early sixties and what they were talking about with the state of our world today. With the type of show that [Bippy Bobby Boo] is, and the topics that we were addressing last year – when it came time to sit down and write the show this time, it just seemed like there was an opening for everything that’s happening. It all lined up, and here we were.
Directed and choreographed by Danielle Georgiou. Written by Justin Locklear and Danielle Georgiou. Music composed by Justin Locklear. The Bippy Bobby Boo Show: 2020 Call-In Special will be livestreaming October 23 - November 3, 2020. Streaming access codes are only $15 and are available for purchase at www.Theatre3Dallas.com.