Friday, 22 July 2016

Blood Dramaturgy @ Edfringe 2016

 Aug 9-29 2.15pm-9.15pm

Blood Will Have Blood uses audio-immersive technology to put the audience at the heart of the story. You become children, lost in the brutal world of Macbeth’s Scotland. Adopted by one of the three witches you grow up with stories of terror and learn to fight for your revenge. The audio show moulds itself around your actions, leading to 18 unique endings with over 180 different routes to get there. Like Shakespeare’s original, the show explores the relationship between fate and free-will. It is completely interactive and only open to 12 audience members at a time.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
The main inspiration is the world of Shakespeare's Macbeth: the themes of fate and choice, the characters, the time period, the witches. Another inspiration was choose your own adventure video games like the Stanley Parable but also immersive companies like Punchdrunk and Secret Cinema. The most exciting moment in immersive theatre or video games for me is when you are faced with a choice and in the moment of deciding you understand something about the characters in the story, even if that character is you.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
It is a small team. The only actor needed is for the witch, who leads you as mother and mentor through the show. We are using the actors from our production of Fire Burn, in which the three witches enact Macbeth. Nicola is our sound designer and composer and I met her on an Old Vic networking event. Clancy wrote a ten minute version of this piece for our immersive new writing event, The Alchemical Door, and we decided to develop it into a full length version.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I have always been interested in making theatre, since I was 6, so it's hard to say. However, I became interested in making immersive theatre when I first heard stories about The Mask of the Red Death. I thought, there is the antidote to the lack of connection I'm feeling to the world. However, when I went to see Punchdrunk in New York, I still felt like there was more you could do to connect the audience. That's when Clancy and I started looking at Video Games and how they bring you into their world.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
No, this is a very unique new piece for us. We have had to learn about bluetooth headphones and Clancy has made a completely bizarre qlab for the show. It has over 80.000 cues and 180 routes and 18 endings. It's a beast! We've done loads of R&D so we keep finding new things. For example. people don't listen when they're doing things so you need to balance the talking and the touching.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
A slow realisation that their actions effect the story. We want them to talk to each other afterwards to see what happened. The best audience members for me and the ones who really look like they're losing themselves in it, the way I lose myself in books.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Every sentence is a strategy! The whole show is designed to manipulate you into going through it. We spent a day trying to work out if the narrative voice should say "you look around" or "I look around". We also have to balance suggestion and orders. So sometimes it's "I thought about doing it..." and then we wait. If they don't do it we say "but I didn't" but if they do then it becomes "I did it". The language is really tricky to get right. It doesn't want to feel like a monkey hear monkey do story, because it's not, but equally audiences get stressed out if they don't understand what they need to do.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Not really. Immersive theatre in it's current form is so new that I don't think it has created a tradition yet.

Blood Will Have Blood came out of our sell out immersive new writing event The Alchemical Door and is part of our movement away from set dependant immersive theatre. It was written by Clancy Flynn, writer of Whistleblower and Wyrd at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013. Her most recent story Intelligence Testing was published in Dark Futures Anthology. We are touring Blood with Fire Burn:The Tragedy of Macbeth. Blood was developed with the generous support of Arts Council England.

Since setting up ImmerCity in 2012 we have done immersive and sitespecific  theatre all over the UK and Ireland. Our larger scale immersive productions include working with Opera Holland Park on The Dwindling House of Holland and with Kensington and Chelsea Council on alien invasion show Crashed. Blood Will Have Blood is directed by ImmerCity’s artistic director Rosanna Mallinson with sound design by Nicola Chang who composes for video games, film and theatre.

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