Sunday, 30 July 2017

Buried Dramaturgy: Colla Voce @ Edfringe 2017

Buried: A New Musical
by Tom Williams and Cordelia O’Driscoll

‘I don’t think I’ve ever met another me before.’

He’s a shy, seemingly-average young professional. She’s a sarcastic thrill-seeker. After matching on an online dating service, this young and fun-loving couple form a unique relationship when they discover something special they have in common: they’re both serial killers.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Our writer and director, Tom Williams, has recently finished studying Psychology at university, where he became interested in the discussion of how we view people with personality disorders. He saw how this topic was exacerbated when examining those who commit violent crimes, especially serial offenders, and asking whether someone who is psychologically devoid of morality can be considered responsible for their actions. 

After discussing this idea with Cordelia O’Driscoll, our composer, it occurred to them both that musical theatre would be an interesting medium to explore this topic - it’s been a very collaborative process between the two of them.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

Absolutely - the theatre is definitely still a shared experience and viewing a performance can open up a discussion between audience members about what they are seeing on stage. We hope that Buried may open up a discussion of the ways we view psychopathy; we aim to ask these questions, without necessarily providing an answer, as we think it’s really important for the audience to make up their own minds.

How did you become interested in making performance?

For most of us, our university experiences have been a huge part of why we perform. Most of the members of Colla Voce Theatre have been heavily involved in the performance societies at the University of Sheffield, which is where a lot of us met. 

The societies have been great in letting people grow in performance and writing, and offering a lot of opportunities.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

A lot of the process has been making sure that the show’s tone (between being a black comedy-musical, but also a show about murderers) remains consistent. Discussing such a heavy topic has definitely been challenging, but that’s why they decided that a musical would be the best way to explore such a dark, confusing and sensitive subject, allowing the heaviness of the content to be lightened with song and black comedy.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

As a company, this is our first completely original piece of writing (and our first production outside of our hometown of Sheffield!), but it fits very well into the style of our previous shows. Our company performs musical theatre with a fresh take, showcasing the unusual, the forgotten, and the undiscovered. In particular, we specialise in performing small-scale musical theatre in unorthodox spaces. All of these things apply to Buried, and we can’t wait to share it with a new audience.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Overall, Buried’s purpose is to entertain. We hope that our audience will have a good time, whether that’ll be because they most enjoy the comedy, the music, or the questions the show raises about psychopathy and morality.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

To prevent the show from becoming too heavy, the light, folk style music and the comedy contrasts with the darkness of the subject matter. Despite the main characters adopting charming, likeable, and exciting personalities, they are still serial killers, creating a moral conflict that forces the audience to consider the line between good and evil.

Buried: A New Musical tells the story of these exceptional
characters as they join forces, setting out on a trail of deception and murder whilst simultaneously attempting to navigate their way through the world of normal, adult relationships. Combining a beautiful, folk-inspired score and a bitingly funny script, this new musical puts a bloodthirsty spin on the traditional rom-com formula, examining the world of relationships when pushed to its extremes.

As a new, emerging theatre group, Colla Voce Theatre has enjoyed great success in the company’s hometown of Sheffield. They now premiere their first piece of original writing: Buried: A New Musical written by Tom Williams and Cordelia O’Driscoll.

The company performs musical theatre with a fresh take, showcasing the unusual, the forgotten and the undiscovered. Whether they are producing stories that rarely get told, or stories that have never been told before, Colla Voce Theatre attempts to challenge the conceptions of what musical theatre can be

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