Briefly describe for us what your show is about?
Two elderly sisters suffer the deaths of their husbands on the same day and must then reform a relationship with each other before finding their place in the world. It’s about loss, hope, fear, optimism, pessimism and the unrelenting character of the modern world.
I’ve done a lot of work with puppetry but never in a storytelling framework resembling this. The narrators and the characters share the text in a very fluid manner with regular switches between voices and perspectives. Also the whole piece is written in verse and this is the first time I’ve tried to write anything of this length using rhyme throughout. Describe it for us in three words.
Lyrical. Reflective. Melancholic. How will it make people feel? / What do you want it to make people think about?
That’s what I’m hoping to find out at Ferment. The show touches upon a number of subjects that are close to our everyday experiences and I’m looking forward to hearing what elements of it resonate with people so I can hopefully find out what (if anything!) it is about and in which direction I can develop the ideas. I hope it engages people in whatever way they feel personally. What stage will it be at in its development when we see it in July?
It is a first draft of the script in its entirety and the puppets, made by Marta Gemma, are working prototypes. Peta Dennis and I will have spent four or five days exploring ideas with the Glowglobes, John & Laura Holmes, who are musicians who will be underscoring the story live on the night. It will be the very initial workings of the idea but will give a strong sense of the flavour and ambition of the final piece. What elements in particular are you looking forward to testing out on Ferment audiences?
I’ll be asking the audience to paint the canvas of the stage by using the words of the piece as a stimulus due to the fact that the aesthetic is quite stark and I’m looking forward to seeing how successful this proves. I’m excited about the style of storytelling we’re trying to achieve and the beauty of the live music to accompany the action is something I can’t wait to experience myself. I’m also eager to see how the relationship between the narrators and the puppets works in practice.
What are your personal highlights of July’s Ferment Fortnight?
I’m really looking forward to seeing Dan Canham’s ‘Ours Was The Fen Country’, having heard about its beginnings and development. I’ll also be watching Wattle & Daub, Tom Wainwright, Fellswoop and The Wardrobe Ensemble as well as checking out the Get Shorty pieces under the direction of Emel Yilmaz. They are all people whose work I’ve seen and enjoyed and it feels great to be a part of such a diverse Ferment.