Welcome to our week 5 blog! We’ve reached production week and the theatre is currently transforming into our topsy-turvy Light Princess kingdom.
What better time to ask Verity Standen, the show’s composer and musical director, to tell us more about the stunning original music she’s creating for the show. Here’s what she had to say:
“What does a woman with no gravity sound like? The audience need to care about the Light Princess, but also to marvel at how different she is. So Su (Suzanne Ahmet, who plays the princess) and I have played around with exploring laughter through music. I have always been drawn to the glorious freedom that scat singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan have; this felt like a great tool for Su to use in moments where she needs to explode into the scene. There will be a hefty dollop of ‘diddly dee baaa wee aaaah’s’ heading the audience’s way.
Working on this show has been quite a challenge as a composer because the play’s mood jumps about all over the place. One minute we are scatting away with the princess, the next we’re in a Gilbert and Sullivan-esque number, then we dance into a dreamy waltz, and then dive head first into a lake soundscape. IT’S UTTER MADNESS, and rightly so.
Early in the process we as a creative team made the decision that the sound world for the show would be created almost entirely with voices – some pre-recorded, but most sung live by the cast. We try to really show the mechanics of the music – the audience see, in the moment, how we are layering sounds and setting up worlds. There has been a lot of jamming, scatting, improvising, warbling, giggling and guffawing bouncing around the rehearsal room over the last few weeks. It’s been joyous and tough. The cast have embraced these challenges willingly – jumping genre and supporting each other without a band to fall back on.
Making and performing voice-based work is exciting and challenging simultaneously – to bring the best out of singers, you have to let the character and quality of their individual voices inform the material. The music has space for freedom so the performers can really stamp their personalities on the sound they are creating together.”
Posted on 24 November 2015