Focus on: Sasquatch: The Opera

From Faith No More to musicals. Roddy Bottum talks to Lewis Porteous about working in a foreign format

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Sasquatch: The Opera
Published 22 Jul 2017

Best known as a founding member of alternative metal giants Faith No More, Roddy Bottum is a journeyman musician whose extracurricular projects betray a dizzying eclecticism only hinted at by the band's work. He recently gave up his West Coast base in order to pursue musical theatre in New York City, and the first fruits of his relocation are set to premiere at Summerhall this Fringe, one of the programme's most intriguing entries.

“I moved to New York because it’s the greatest city in the world,” Bottum explains. “The intensity of the theatre and art scene was an impetus for me to create a big story like Sasquatch: The Opera. It was in the back of my mind for a long time but New York inspired me to pursue it."

While details of the show's content are vague at this point, it's suggested that the misunderstood mythological creature of the title will reflect Bottum's experiences as one of the first openly gay men in the macho world of rock and roll. “Sasquatch is big and hairy and sexy with a core of sensitivity and an openness to indulge. That’s all any gay man wants,” he says of the monster's appeal.

Bottum's professional experience makes him as much of an outsider in the theatre world as he was in rock and roll, but he notes that this need not be viewed as a negative. “There’s something really special about working in a foreign format for the first time. I’ve never done theatre and there’s a freedom to be able to work and create in a naïve method. I’m only answering to myself and my creative needs. In doing so I tend to provoke and aim for outside of the realm of comfortability. I’m in no way interested in creating an easily digestible theatre experience. I’m aiming to disgust and enthral audiences. I want them to cringe and cry and be moved."

Inclined though he is to transgression and experimentation, the artist is nonetheless confident a market exists for his bold new work. “My tale is one of American trash, of depraved life forms, of hopelessness and destruction. It’s a tragic American tale and I know the UK gets off on shit like that.”