Rinkoo Barpaga

The R & D for “Bubble and Butch” by Rinkoo Barpaga is commissioned by UNLIMITED. The R & D will bring together Rinkoo Barpaga’s 13 years of film work and 3 years of stand up comedy and Storytelling to create unique theatre. He says, “In Britain I have faced a large number of barriers where people won’t give me opportunities so in 2013, I got on a flight to the USA to start my comedy career in New York.” After a smash debut at Gotham City Comedy Club, in 2015 he received an Arts Council England Grant to make a touring show called “Am I funny?” The Life and Signs of Deaf Comedian. It’s a show about a deaf comedian’s search to be funny in the mainstream. Eight sold out shows at Mac Birmingham, Wolverhampton Arena, Etcetera Theatre, and First Festival (Tristan Bates Theatre) London.

Rinkoo Barpaga will tell the story of “Bubble and Butch.” The synopsis: meet Bubble, a Deaf, 35 year old, obese man with no job, no girlfriend and no life. Bubble, oblivious to his hopelessness and content to play Xbox hour upon hour, is about to meet the answer to his prayers – but not of the human kind. In an unexpected twist of events, Bubble finds himself responsible for a fearless dog Rottweiler named Butcher. This entertaining comedy-drama guides us through the journey of Bubble and Butch, a turbulent relationship that turns Bubble’s world upside down. But when it comes to the crunch, is Bubble prepared to give up his new companion?

The aim of the research and development that is commissioned by UNLIMITED is to discover how to make my own style of theatrical cinema using a mix of film, live dialogue and using a dog both on stage and in film. I want to use this form of work to bring an authenticity to the story, as it is based on real life experience. Key to the success of this R&D will be to write a script for a 10 to 15-minute section of the show (the first part of the story) that puts film onto the stage. The script will be developed in the studio with deaf actors in March 2018. This studio activity is supported by the Birmingham REP Theatre, where I am doing REP Foundry a professional development programme for emerging theatre-makers in the West Midlands. To develop my Filmmaking experience, I am working with Filmmaker Justin Edgar as my mentor.

Rinkoo Barpaga and Justin Edgar, filming in West Bromwich

I aim to tell the story through Sign Language, but not formal BSL (British Sign Language), but rather a mixture of BSL and Urban Sign Language. This style of signing has never really been documented on TV, stage or film, but is my native sign language. I will research how this urban language can be played out on the stage and explore the use of subtitles to translate the urban sign language for the entire audience, including those that are British Sign Language users.