INSIDE THE CHARACTER
Jeremiah is an actor specialising in bringing non-human creatures to life, including iconic television roles such as Tinky Winky in the Teletubbies and the Cyberman in Doctor Who. His interest in playful creativity extends beyond performance to encompass installations and interactive public art.
As a creature performer, I work with costumes that swallow me up completely. This is one of the greatest challenges in my practice but it is also what I love the most about it. There is a real sense of freedom when my face is not visible, but then I have the challenge of communicating everything about the character through the costume. I have to extend the performance of a normal actor who works with their real body into a body that is outside and larger than myself and often doesn’t look like me. That is really exciting.
As humans, we are used to moving about, making gestures with our faces and hands, and we basically know how other people will respond to that. When I smile, people will think I am happy. But if I make the same gestures in the suit, it’s not gonna happen. Therefore, I need to find an entirely new vocabulary. I have to look at the shape of the creature, of the costume I am in and consider how my movements can convey the emotions that the character is feeling. I try to create that internally and map it onto a different physicality. I need to find out how to make this creature move so it looks alive and has the full emotional spectrum that we would expect from any character. In general, when working in these big suits, the gestures have to be bigger. I am taking this larger-than-life feeling into the suit.
Interview on the occasion of the 16th edition of Pictoplasma in Isolation, 2020