-Why were you interested in the The Black Rider project?
Have loved the music by Tom for ages, I listened to it years ago, and was always interested in the Faust theme. I also wanted to get away from the rigid way music is performed on stage, and try something more dramatic. The fact that it was a Christchurch based project was a massive appeal as most of my work takes me travelling.
-Did you have any prior interest in Waits, Burroughs or Wilson’s work?
Huge fan of Waits over the years, and enjoyed the influence that Burroughs had on writing as well as his seminal work teaching the Beat poets.
-What was your role and how did you approach it?
Pegleg the Devil/Ringmaster and also a small role as a haunted painting. I thought a lot about it on my own and also enjoyed following the direction of Peter Falkenberg. It was really great to work with a director. I enjoyed having a different outlook on my performance and it was invaluable to have direction that I believed in. I found it would give me the conviction I needed as it wasn’t my decision whether It was working or not, I could just trust Peter.
-Did you introduce anything new to your role or make any obvious changes from the actor who played it in the original Hamburg production?
I tried to use the character of William Burroughs as a cue for the way my version of Pegleg spoke; a strange lilting staggering flowing way of talking. I also went against my initial impulse to make him angry mean and loud and tried to play him as quietly as possible. I though this made him more sinister. I watched the Hamburg version to get some solutions aswell to the way he is in certain scenes.
-What was it like working with Laban movement techniques?
Using Laban was a challenge but also really good as it helped me get out of my usual traps. It’s a great exercise and really starts you thinking differently about movement.
-What instruments did you play?
Guitar, Singing, Drums, Whistling, Singing Saw, and Banjo.
-Describe your costume decisions?
A tail coat for some elegance and formal feeling, a corset to make him unnaturally skinny, boots and tight trousers to make his legs and feet look like hooves and animals legs, gloves to make the hands iconic/symbolic, a hat, and make up to give him a birdlike quality.
-What was the process creating this different version of the original musical score?
We started out just trying what would work with the scenes, and because we were using a lot less musicians we had to make sacrifices. We lost our drummer as well so this meant everyone had a lot to do. I think all these setbacks were in our favour in the end.
-How would you describe the music in the production?
Atmospheric, Beautiful, Sad, Dark, Minimal, Tense, Loud, Disgusting, Sweet, Horrible, Frightening, Heartbreaking, Rousing, Compelling, Simple and Complex.
-How was your experience working as an actor/musician in the theatre different to your previous experiences?
I love theatre music because it can be so minimal and do so much. Its very different from performing a show. I sometimes miss the possibility of volume that I have at a live concert. But I always enjoy the way theatre music makes me think about sound very differently.
-What was your experience collaborating with others on the project and what were the difficulties and challenges?
Working in a group is a real challenge for me. I am naturally impatient, and find the slowness makes me freak out. I also find it challenging to be dependent on other peoples timetables. I enjoyed what happens with a group when it comes to creative input and found we made something as a group that I could never have found on my own. Working with others, overcoming my inhibitions with movement and performing, learning text, doing things the same every time, keeping the focus and intensity of the character for the length of the show.
Thursday 31st August - Friday 1st September, 8pm.
Free Theatre ChCh
Free Theatre Christchurch. Intermittent blogging. Thoughts. Enjoy.