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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Realising a Metal Harvest

Concept artwork for the original,
unrealised production
After the chaos of so many shows last year, this year has so far been quite straightforward.  A few productions, one a revival, and mostly I'm editing and shaping work, not actively writing.  But even so, I'm mostly reacting to events, putting shows together at the last minute (i.e. with a few months notice) rather than properly planning ahead.  There was a time when I planned 18 months ahead (even if not everything happened as planned - see the Seldom plan in posts ad passum) and could get my ducks properly in a row.  Here starts the planning.

One of the shows I didn't do last year was titled Metal Harvest and I was gutted that it fell by the wayside - it's a simple show in many ways, but it's a bitch to get right.  It's a storytelling/character/music piece about the life cycle of a shell from the First World War.  I was going to be performing it on the 100th anniversary of Britain entering the war, but it makes more sense to be doing it a hundred years after 1915 - an hundred years after the shell crisis and big changes to how munitions were created.  All sounds a bit dry, but the shell is a pretext to tell the stories of those who handle it.
And then there's the music.  On Wednesday I had a meeting with Richard Fawcett, who's composing and arranging the score (as well as playing a mean fiddle), and I'm glad to report the show is on - and it's already sounding really, really good.  We've worked together on music for a couple of shows now - the last being for The Passion which would have been a completely different show without the musical interplay.  We've been talking about this show for almost eighteen months now and for the first time I've been able to present him with an outline text, so that his musically ideas can now fill gaps between scenes, create physical sections, create atmospheres and push me to create new words.  To say I left feeling fairly buzzed would be an understatement.
I then walked down the road to the Quay Theatre and pitched the show to the coordinator and we have a date for a first performance penciled in (subject to fate etc.)  I'm hoping to run a limited tour after this first show, taking in some of the venues I've toured with Everyman, as well as any other places that come our way.  I'd also like to fully document the show, video and audio, so that it has more of an afterlife.

At the same time as rehearsing this show, I'll be finishing off work on the Chester Mystery Plays for my Before Shakespeare project - and hopefully doing some writing.  I've also got some work for another company, but that's not creative per se, so doesn't eat into my time in the same way.

That covers 2015 - now to sort out 2016 - but I can't do that till I see how well the Everyman tour goes.

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