Doug Bradley ANSWERS QUESTIONS BY FANS
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Dog Company's Day of the Dog
Clive Barker described the early experimental play "Dog" as a highly stylised tale of sex, transformation and apocalypse' Could you share with us what impressions come to mind about this play?
Sex, transformation and apocalypse, basically. Is there anything else?
First impressions? Elation, despair, triumph, defeat, naivete, fun, depression, frustration, satisfaction and an awful lot of other –tions. It was, as you might guess from that, something of a roller-coaster ride. (I’ve covered some of this territory in chapters 13 & 14 of my book, by the way – forgive me if I repeat myself - and I’m sure Doug Winter’s biography of Clive deals with it.)
It developed out of the mime piece The Day Of The Dog which itself grew out of another mime A Clowns’ Sodom. Having been silent for a number of years, the words were now pouring out of Clive in floods and torrents. I’ve just been looking at my original typed script. 150 A4 pages. But that’s just the start. The entire thing is more or less crossed out and re-written. I remember long hours with Clive dictating the re-writes which I’ve then hand-written into the script.
This was basically insane. We were trying to start a small-scale touring theatre company, presenting an unknown play by an unknown writer with unknown actors, produced for practically nothing and the material was this vast epic play on a Wagnerian scale. But it was exactly how we’d always proceeded, so I don’t think it struck as odd. We were, I think, absolutely certain that all we had to do was perform this play and the world would hail us as geniuses.
We rehearsed in a room at Earth Exchange (veggie shop, restaurant and bookshop on the Archway Road in North London). We built the set – quite a complicated thing, representing the façade of Sugarman’s house – ourselves, while Jane Wildgoose (who later, of course, designed and made the Cenobite costumes) produced the costumes. Meanwhile we were also trying to find places to perform the damn thing, a process of which we were almost entirely ignorant.
Our first performance was to be at The British Council in London. The whole thing nearly crashed and burned, I recall. The set wasn’t finished as the date approached, one cast member suddenly went on holiday, it was far, far, too long. And so on and so forth. Somewhere in all this I started smoking again after a two year hiatus.
Dog (left, Clive Barker) and Sugarman (Doug Bradley) in Day of the Dog