Playhouse Creatures was my first time working with York-based theatre company Hedgepig Theatre. The play, written by April de Angelis, is the story of Nell Gwynne and a small group of the very first female actors allowed on stage. It portrays the ascendence of Nell and the various fates of the other established actors and included a huge fire, swordfighting, Shakespeare and an on-stage abortion!
Creating sound and music for Playhouse Creatures was a very interesting and exciting process for me. From the start, director Andy was very clear about what he *didn’t* want – something predictable and traditional. Once I’d read and understood the play and met with Andy to understand his vision for the production, it was refreshing to have the freedom to really explore the themes and characterisation without having to resort to period instruments!
Found organic sounds, manipulated samples, some live instrumentation, animal noises, loops and percussionAs a result, most of my output was created from found organic sounds, manipulated samples, some live instrumentation, animal noises, loops and percussion. I focussed on the dirty, rough feel of the
times and situation the play is set in – percussion and drums were recorded live and waveforms and samples were aligned by eye, rather than sequencing them to a prescribed grid. This gave
everything a handmade, rough and chaotic feel that meshed with the costume, lighting and makeup design.
Each character was given their own refrain, or signature sound, which entered or left the stage with them. I wrote them in such a way that they could layer on top of each other in any configuration to
create a new piece of music depending on who was interacting with who in any particular scene. As the play progressed, characters got louder or quieter, brighter or darker, and more pure or corrupted as their story arc dictated.
Working with such a hugely talented cast and crew was a joy and made me keen to work in the theatre again.