An elderly man interacts with a large puppet of a duck against a starry night sky

10 Minutes with... Kneehigh's David Mynne

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David Mynne stars as Jake Santee in Kneehigh’s brand new show Fup: A Modern Fable. We asked him a couple of questions about the show, his work with director Simon Harvey and, of course, ducks!

What is Fup: A Modern Fable about?
One hundred year old Grandaddy Jake is raising his grandson, Tiny, in the best way he can, living on the edge of society. Then Fup arrives. Fup is a duck… and she is going to change their lives. Forever.

The Santee family are somewhat unconventional but full of heart. Do you think that there’s a message for families in the audiences in Fup?
Absolutely. The show is all about family, however unconventional, and those messages are all there: love, loss, grief, misunderstanding, hope, opening up boundaries and knocking down fences. As Grandaddy Jake says: “Let’s get on with gettin’!”

How does the play compare to the book?
The most obvious difference is that director/writer, Simon Harvey, has moved the setting from California to Cornwall, so the accents are a little different! However, the underlying message and themes of the book are all there.

And your character, Grandaddy Jake… what’s he like?
Rough and ready, disreputable and you might not want him as a friend! But, overall, I feel he has a good heart. He loves his grandson and wants the best for him; he just doesn’t quite know to do it properly.

You’ve been a part of Kneehigh for over 30 years now. What has it been like, especially with how popular the company has become?
This is a return to Kneehigh for me; I’ve been retired for a few years, though I’m not quite as old as Grandaddy Jake! When Kneehigh first started, we were a few friends, from all walks of life, creating family shows to tour Cornwall. I don’t think anyone ever imagined what the company would become. I’m very proud to have been a small part of that.

Fup utilises some puppetry elements which look very lifelike. Have you worked with puppets before?
Not a lot, so Fup has been a learning curve. And a lot of fun!

We have some pretty famous, quite scary geese on the Warwick campus. How nice would you say Fup the duck is?
Rachel Leonard, our pupeteer, told me that she took Fup to meet the geese at Heligan Gardens. Fup jumped on the fence and the geese got very uppity and started to hiss at her. Fup is a big duck, with an even bigger attitude… she turned her back and walked off in a huff!

See David in Fup: A Modern Fable between Tue 2 – Sat 6 Oct. For more information and to book tickets, please click here.

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