Dirk Maggs : I think those 'dry runs' have been really useful - through them we have developed the staging of a show for a watching audience who are listening too, not just listeners. The delivery will still be as if a radio show but there will be physical comedy as well, and the audience can watch how we use tricks to create sound effects, how the actors work off each other, and how it can all go wrong sometimes!
NB : In 2008, when the second episode was played live, if my memory serves me right, James already told to the audience that he was thinking about making a tour with a live version of Hitchhiker. When did you get the idea first? And why?
DM : Simon Jones and I were discussing a stage tour as far back as 2004 when we were making the Quandary and Quintessential Phases.
NB : When Hitchhiker Live was staged for the Hitchcon in 2009, Ed Victor told us that it have been very difficult to organize due to the fact that Disney still owned the rights of Hitchhiker? Is it still the case?
DM : Well it isn't quite as bad as trying to cook a steak by getting people to breathe on it but it took two years to get this far so a lot of hard work and patience has been needed. The Estate were fantastically supportive and once Disney realised what we were trying to do, people were very helpful.
NB : Will this version be very different from Hitchcon Live? Will it look more like a reading or like a theatre play? Will we got special sound effects and also stunning visual effects?
DM : Hitchcon Live worked very well and I think we will keep a lot of ideas but expand on them and there will be more going on technically. Don't forget Douglas always wanted Hitchhiker's to sound like a rock album and we'd like the show to have a rock show vibe to it, with lights, sound system, live band, a bit of spectacle. Simon has yet to persuaded to wear a spandex thong under the dressing gown but we'll work on that.
NB : How close will it be from the original series? Do you want to adapt the complete first series? It is cleary announced like a live version of the radio show, so i suspect it will be very faitfhul (or not)?
DM : 'The Radio Show Live' is still a working title and your question reveals why it could be misleading. This show will be adapted from the novels and performed to microphones radio-style, but it will involve physicality, gags. Above all it won't go over and over the material in the first series/novel to the exclusion of the later stuff - it will cover material in Arthur's story from all five novels and will be very fast-moving and have some very silly moments.
NB : What is really impressive is that you obtained the participation of all the main original actors still alived! Was it difficult to convince them to go back to H2G2 and to make a tour in england? Simon Jones and Mark Wing-Davey now live in US.
DM : Within 5 hours of sending emails all over the world I received 100% yes replies. Mark's only concern was fitting it around his academic commitments but that turned out to be an easy fix. Much as I'd like to say that it took a lot of persuasion, the cast love Hitchhiker's and, if free, will be there!
NB : No one has been casted for the Voice of the Book yet?
DM : That's all under discussion at the moment. We were very happy with Andrew Sachs.
NB : Will Philip Pope write new music/songs for the H2G2 Radio show Live?
DM : I'm sure there will be some new cues, as for songs we have yet to have that discussion. This cannot be a musical so I doubt there will be too much singing. Overall there will be a lot of music though - after all Douglas loved music - I'm just busy trying to persuade Philip to let me play the drums!
NB : Do you think the british audience still want to see more of Hitchhiker more than 30 years after the original radio series? Do you think to tour in other countries where Hitchhiker is still hugely popular (USA, Australia,...) and even non english speaking countries like Germany... or France (Eddie Izzard is even currently perfoming his own show "Stripped" in french in Paris so we know it's possible ;) ?
DM : We hope very much to mount more than one tour in more than one country. For the moment however we are concentrating on the UK.
NB : What do you want to achieve most with this new production?
DM : To give people who love Douglas's work a chance to share the experience of entering his world, in a very funny, very fulfilling evening.
NB : Will you work on a CD or even DVD version?
DM : We will be releasing audio recordings of the show. Video isn't part of our plan. Video can't come near what it's like to actually be in the room, audio plus your imagination can.
NB : Do you think you will release some merchandise about the show? Maybe a special towel? Or a new recipe for the infamous Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster?
DM : I expect many items will be appearing along these lines! It's part of the business! But we will want to apply a very high quality threshold.
NB : When will begin the first rehearsals? And (this question is utterly important) will I be invited?
DM : I don't think we will be having guests to rehearsals, sorry - we need to be able to mess it up without witnesses, no matter how friendly!
NB : When do you think the tour will be ready and will begin? Come on, 2012 is a little vague.
DM : The Tour won't be happening till mid-2012. That's the best information I have. It's going to be a very big logistical exercise.
NB :Do you think that Hitchhiker will have other new incarnations (movie, tv series, book, radio series) in the near future?
DM : I think this is just about the best new incarnation Hitchhikers could have, and I hope we wll be doing it for some time!