During my most recent Residency period at Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking (Stroud), we recorded the environment around Hawkwood’s state, and listened to the actual sounds of walking/running in the beautiful forests surrounding the house, in order to then re-create these sounds with Foley Art techniques.
We then combined these sounds together with a script inspired by a version of the fable ‘The Hare & the Tortoise’ by Lord Duncan (1920’s), then mashed it all together in an audiovisual piece inspired by Delia Derbyshire’s original piece “Falling”, from the radio show “The Dreams” (1964).
Our result is this video – I hope you enjoy 🙂
Inspired by A. Brad Schwartz’s book “Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles & the Art of Fake News” – where the author examines how Welles’ 1938 programme “War of Worlds” produced panic, not on fears of alien invasion but on the bewitching power of radio – I began writing a collection of short pieces about late 19th Century technological inventions: electric lighting in streets, amplified sound in theatres… radio in people’s homes! These are bittersweet stories exploring exciting advances in tech, featuring naïve and idealistic science geeks and DIY inventors whose inventions, co-opted by big business, became weapons in the arsenal of an emerging brutal capitalism.
The work is distinctive in many ways:
– Audiences see how a Sound Designer creates Foley (live sound effects) on stage.
– The Sound Designer creates sound effects and reacts to the storytelling as various characters.
– The stories tell political & social battles that resonate today: we explore the relationship between radio & the phenomenon of Fake News, and how this phenomenon may not be as new as we think
– The stories are based on historical facts but twisted & retold in an anachronistic language; I am half Spanish, half British & my stories have a distinctive ‘Spanish Cockney/Spanglish’ vocabulary.
– The stories are shot through with irreverent humour, and ironic commentary referencing the fact that women are completely out of the picture when talking about technological advances throughout history.
The combination of these stories together with the way sound is being created live on stage, make an ambiguous but sonically, visually and deeply engaging performance.
Hawkwood CFT has been supporting my ongoing Practice as Research on Theatre & Radio for over two years now, granting me a Change-Maker Residency in early 2020. Thanks to their support from my early stages, I can proudly say I am now experimenting with the combination of Theatre & Sound Art in collaboration with, and supported & inspired by, a great international team: Anna Iau, Ed Gaughan, Peter Smith, Franzisca Aarflot, Becky Wilkie, Alison Craig, Peader Kirk, Joel Chaen, Lucy Bellingham, Shea Wotjus, Chloe Young, Elicia Daly, Gloria Sirvent, JoseLuis Alonso, Ignasi Mora, Pablo Gomis, Mila García, Elvira Navas, Leticia Núñez & Nelly Alexandra Allauca Llumiquinga. Together, from different rural & urban locations in Spain, Norway & the UK, we are exploring how to use Foley Art as a theatrical storytelling device. This work is also possible thanks to Fossekleiva Kultursenter (Norway), Arts Council England, The Society for Theatre Research (V&A Museum), The Fenton Arts Trust, and Almadraba Teatro, Diputació d’Alacant, Concurso de Alacant a Escena & L’Ajuntament de La Vall de Gallinera (Spain).
Full credit to Eva Collins Alonso, with thanks to the DCMS & Arts Council England for their funding.