An Interview with Anna Freeman, creator of Memetune

Next in our series of Ferment Fortnight interviews is spoken word performer Anna Freeman, a regular fixture at our blahblahblah monthly poetry events run by Ferment performer Byron Vincent. Here Anna gives us a sneak peek into the thought process behind the show.

Is it similar to what you’ve done previously or are you trying something new?
It’s a spoken word show written by myself and a wonderful poet called Chris Redmond, with a live band. Loads of things about it are new; working with Chris, working with the band, thinking about how to use music as an integral element of the work. I talk in the show about how I had a singularly unmusical upbringing. The style of it is probably pretty close to what I do; it’s autobiographical comedy with a spine of pain. Working with Chris has upped the playfulness level though. He’s a joyful being. And I’m trying not to be as warped and anxious as usual in case he realises he’s made a terrible mistake and runs away.

How will it make people feel? / What will it make people think about?

Ha! We’ve had so many conversations about this. It’s really about the things that have influenced our lives, especially music. It is kind of about the soundtrack of our lives, and whether or not we get any control over it, how our lives would be different if we did. It is definitely supposed to be funny. If it isn’t funny, we’ve buggered it up.

What stage will it be at in its development when we see it in January?
Well, we’re working as hard as we can, but it will be largely untried, and unless a miracle happens, a bit unfinished. We’ve tried four of the pieces once, but that’s all we’ve had time for, and I think spoken word benefits hugely from repeat performances. We are going to be really grateful for audience feedback and in exchange we’ll do our damnedest to make it worth watching. It is a series of spoken word pieces and sketches glued together with music and a narrative arc that jumps about a bit.

What elements in particular are you looking forward to testing it out on Ferment audiences?
The music, definitely. The band will have only had a couple of goes at rehearsing with us, and it’s a lot to work out, but they are incredibly good at improvising – it’s what they do, they’re the same musicians Chris works with in Tongue Fu, which is a brilliant night in London in which poets perform over an improvised backing track.We’re hoping to go with the improvisational feel and make it part of the fun.

What are your personal highlights of the line-up for January’s Ferment Fortnight?
Man Up, Johnny Fluffypunk! He’s absolutely brilliant. And I’m definitely going to see Conversations Not Fit For The American Dinner Table.

Memetune: Music for the Film I’m In will be on at 8:30pm on Fri 25 Jan at Bristol Old Vic. You can find out more here.

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