Miss Julie was the second Hedgepig Theatre production I was invited to participate in, and it was an equally edifying experience. Working with many of the same people as Playhouse Creatures, I was tasked with creating a dark 1920s theme for August Strindberg’s gender-war drama.
I started off with what I thought the play needed to bring the audience into the world of Miss Julie, valet John and cook Christine – the play is naturally claustrophic but classic in nature, so I composed an opening and closing theme of jazz percussion, sweeping strings and tense glockenspiel. I was aiming for a ‘radio play’ kind of atmosphere.
In the space of one play, I’d contributed an orchestral theme, manipulated loops and written a lusty folk songDirector Andy Curry had Christine setting up the stage (the kitchen) as the audience entered the theatre, and the theme made way for a loop from a 1920s recording called ‘Whispering’ which I’d manipulated, and layered with effects and discordant piano and percussion. This loop recurs a few times in the play, signifying the midsummer eve party going on outside the kitchen door.
The party becomes more raucous, and at the height of the drama, the other servants in the house realise there is romance afoot in the kitchen between the lady of the house and her valet and approach, singing an old folk song with lurid lyrics. I wrote the melody based on the lyrics from Gemma Sharp’s adaptation of the play, and the cast sang it acapella from around and behind the audience.
So in the space of one play, I’d contributed an orchestral theme, manipulated loops and written a lusty folk song! Reviews of my music (and the play itself) were very positive indeed in print and online press.
I very much look forward to working with Hedgepig again.