We've seen Robert Hobbs more on the big and small screen. Now theatregoers will get to see him close-up in Break Your Face, running at Studio Theatre, Montecasino.
On what’s been keeping him busy this year, he reveals, “It’s been an interesting year so far. Not the easiest. I feel the local arts industry is really struggling with the economy being what it is. The debacle at the SABC has also not helped. However, talent and creativity will always rise above the mediocrity of our current leadership.”
He continues, “I’ve been involved in the release of some short film projects for Oats Studios, a new initiative spearheaded by director Neill Blomkamp. I last worked with him on District 9 and Chappie. The two films I shot are called Rakka and Firebase. That has been a lot of fun. The opportunity to work with Neill and Sigourney Weaver again is always a great treat.”
He sheds light on his involvement with Break Your Face: “The show is a spin-off of the work we’ve been doing on safferland.com, an online satirical comedy website. Last year, we developed a series called The Daily Quote, where a character I played called Brett (a retired bouncer) would read motivational quotes and then process their meaning through his bouncer’s mind. It got a great response online, clocking up a lot of views. To develop the story further, we tried a different platform (stage) and, as the character of Brett was such a hit, it was natural for us to write more material for him.”
Hobbs continues, “Brett is a fascinating study of a man who finds himself at odds with the world. He has to reinvent himself to find his place. The show is pretty demanding to go through on a nightly basis, as it requires a number of different levels of performance and skills. Comedy is a tough beast and when it’s combined with elements such as mime, singing and the madness of Brett, it’s a real challenge. Still, I love it. There is nothing quite like being back on stage.”
Have you worked with Greg Viljoen before? He reveals, “Greg Viljoen and I have been working together on safferland.com for the past 18 months but I’d never worked with him before that. When we met, we immediately realised that we had a similar vision of where the audiences of the future would be consuming content, hence our work together online. However, we both have a great love for live performance and so the idea of putting Brett on stage came easily. So did the working relationship. I really appreciate his attention to detail and work ethic. He also makes me laugh a lot, so the tougher rehearsals and writing sessions are always a blast.”
Of the set, he points out: “The premise of the play is that Brett is presenting his revolutionary new motivational system, Break Your Face, so we’ve used the standard structure that most motivational speakers use. But this is no ordinary presentation, so it is infused with a lot of video, music and lighting to create a dynamic set that moves along with and supports the storytelling. It’s simple but beautiful.”
Hobbs adds, “I can almost guarantee that the audience will be entertained and laugh their butts off. The story encompasses a broad expanse and allows us to move from the outrageous to the poetic, hopefully leaving our audience with the experience of a great night out at the theatre.”
Meanwhile, he has a few things in the kitty.
He says, “I’m shooting a film in August in Mauritius that I’m very excited about it. It’s a great script with an incredible cast. I’m also developing my own short film, which I plan to direct at the end of the year. I’m also on the lookout for some local television parts, as it’s been a long time since I’ve done something aimed at our local audiences.”
* Break Your Face is described as a cross between Louis CK and Ricky Gervais’s brand of humour; dry, offbeat and a little dark.