Writing music for ‘Blasted’, in The Other Room’s first season

Jan 10, 2015 by

Writing music for ‘Blasted’, in The Other Room’s first season

If you’re lucky, sometimes you get asked to do some really exciting projects. It’s been a bit of a secret up to now, but I’m now allowed to say I’m recording a score for Kate Wasserberg’s production of Sarah Kane’s Blasted at Wales’s first and only pub theatre, The Other Room in Cardiff.

If you’ve been following my musical career (and, let’s face it, who has?) you may know that this isn’t the first Sarah Kane play that I’ve composed for – Lucy Foster (now of Improbable, and her own solo work) directed a production of Crave while we were at university together, which then went to the National Student Drama Festival. I won an actual award for the music (which I think had the title of ‘Cameron Mackintosh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre’ – the least appropriate award for any music of mine, as far as I’m concerned). Some of the music was later reworked and tinkered with, and became part of The Monroe Transfer‘s gigging repertoire, as well as making it onto Electric Old Wire Noise in newly-recorded versions. Overall, quite a pivotal production, in terms of my musical life.

For her upcoming production of Blasted, Kate approached me with what I thought was a really interesting idea: the production would take two things as their source material – Sarah Kane’s script, and an album of music that I would record in response to that script. Taking both of those into the rehearsal room, the music would help the actors define the world of the play, and the recordings would be worked into the production by Dyfan Jones, The Other Room’s resident sound designer.  We’re still thinking of ways that audience members will be able to get hold of the recordings as part of their theatregoing experience, but however that pans out, it’ll also be available to anyone who can’t make it to the theatre for the show. All in all, a very exciting prospect.

The-Other-Room-Bizzy-and-Kate-630x310

Bizzy Day & Kate Wasserberg

As I write, I’m putting the finishing touches to the recordings. The play pivots around a cataclysmic event, and deals with ideas of the disruption of civil war on a familiar world; to echo this in the music, I’m scoring it for piano, marimba, and ondes Martenot (or, given the difficulties in recording them, software versions), which will have varying degrees of electronic processing applied to them.  If you’ve heard Grey Season, the general tone may be familiar.

In the next few weeks, I hope to be able to preview a few pieces of music, as a taster of what to expect from the production.  In the meantime, head over to The Other Room’s site, and book your tickets.

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