Madcap inventor Jens Altheimer is coming to town with his quirky family show 'Loose Ends', but this time he is looking for mini inventors and curious kids to help him create it.
One of the many stops on his Queensland tour is Redland City.
“It’s been a while since I’ve performed at the Redland Performing Arts Centre, it was my previous show ‘Squaring The Wheel’ about four years ago,” Jens says.
“It went great, it’s a nice theatre to perform in with a great atmosphere.”
'Loose Ends' is highly visual, mainly non-verbal and full of eccentric contraptions and clown-powered theatre. A heartfelt story of a man who thinks he can organise all his life in boxes and has a knack for getting into mischief. An intriguing tale of friendship, its pitfalls and its triumphs.
“I’m not big on drawing plans and developing stuff, I very much improvise. I have a shipping container at home full of objects just so my girlfriend doesn’t get too angry with me having it all in the house.”
“And when it comes to production I start creating a pile and go on the concept that one thing triggers another. Quite often I put myself in front of these objects and start understanding what it is, does it move, what it could trigger and how it could transform into something else.”
“It’s a very playful process that turns into serious building to try to make the idea work. Then to pack it up slowly while on tour to then reset it for it to then work again.
“It’s a big building process on making the items more reliable, faster to set up and then smaller to pack away, normally everything in the show is built by myself.”
Image © Sabine Heng
Jens has been a solo performer for a number of years now with his ‘Squaring The Wheel’ show winning ‘Best Production For Children’ at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Awards.
“Once you decide to do solo performing, it’s a bit more difficult to generate the energy without somebody else on stage pushing and pulling you.”
“But I’ve performed solo for quite a while now and instead of human interaction I have a lot more interaction with the objects on stage. I create relations with everyday objects and bring them to life and then they start to create a character on their own.”
With a touch of 'Wallace & Gromit' and 'Mr. Bean', Jens’ show is a magical journey through a tinkering wonderland of wacky thingamabobs, puppetry, shadow play and invention that captures the hearts of children and adults alike.
“I do watch lots of those things and I do get inspired by visual artists and a lot of kinetic sculptures, it’s a mix between inspiration from 'Wallace & Gromit' and a range of performers.”
In his eccentric hour-long performance, he blends clown, contraptions and puppetry, all kind of transformed objects, circus and a lot of madcap energy.
“It’s one hour where you have to be 110 per cent, and it is difficult training to go for an hour. I started with five minute circus acts that were a lot more theatrical with a mix of more machines and contraptions and things.”