Following a blinding week of work at Arnolfini, Ferment Fortnight continues its work-in-progress mini-fest in our theatre 18-29 July. Here, Sleepdogs’ Director and Producer Tanuja Amarasuriya gives us an inside look at A Million Tiny Glitches.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
We’re Sleepdogs, a collaboration between director / producer Tanuja Amarasuriya and writer / composer Timothy X Atack – although for Ferment we’re also joined by actors Kayla Meikle, Simon Mokhele and Zoe West, and movement director Coral Messam.
What are you presenting at Ferment Fortnight?
Some very very early explorations into an electronic musical called A Million Tiny Glitches. It’s the story of 3 friends, one of whom dies. The two left behind deal with their grief in some extraordinary ways, and one of them effectively builds a city out of their pain, hiding deep within it. The last remaining friend ventures into this strange world to find him. We’ll be playing the bare bones of some songs – in a suitably loud fashion, we hope – with some narrative and movement stuff alongside. There’s been much experimenting with what digital tech can do to live vocals, how onstage movement can complement gig-like or band-like performance styles, that kind of thing… it’s by far the most tentative, early-doors work we’ve ever shown at Ferment, but we hope it’ll be intriguing to anyone who might wonder what could happen when you mash up stage musicals and electronica
What inspired/influenced your piece?
Björk, China Mieville, ANOHNI, FKA Twigs, Wings Of Desire, Back To Back Theatre and Haruki Murakami are among our aesthetic influences for this one. At festivals like Sonar in Barcelona we’ve been particularly taken by the way a lot of electronic musicians have been presenting their gigs: making evocative, moving shows out of what might ostensibly be quite dry ‘one producer and a laptop’ experiences. But the biggest inspirations have been our families and friends in recent years, the shock of losing loved ones in different ways, the things it does to you – both good and bad. We both liked the idea of responding to these life lessons by making a big, joyous, modern musical about those troublesome, age-old, bittersweet puzzles.
What does the work that Ferment do mean to you?
We wouldn’t be where we are without Ferment, on so many levels. Alongside the brilliant audiences, it’s not just that Emma, Helen (and Kate and Lina before them) have encouraged, developed and commissioned our work – it’s the way they feed the broader conversation between everyone making and watching theatre in the city. They rock. And you rock. Yes, you.
What would you say the audience can expect in three words?
Songs / sidechains / bass.
Ferment Fortnight returns to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre stage 18-20 July. For more info and to book tickets, click here.