An Introduction to “Club Bazaar”

Welcome to my first blog! I am a 21 year old composer, currently in my final year at The University of Sheffield where I read Music. I’ll be doing a write up of my score for Dear Hunter, Theatre’s latest play “Club Bazaar”, which was written for prepared piano, prepared snare drum, and de-tuned violin (wowza!). “Club Bazaar” was written by Ben Price and Miriam Schechter.

cropped-24879672_1770963959867203_7131022257588697187_o.jpgPhotography by Cordelia O’Driscoll

A little about the play: In a barren future, the little resources left in the world are forbidden to be used for art. All materials are recycled for industry, and the practise of performance, music, and theatre are illegal. But Finnegan and Co. won’t let anyone stop them. In an underground cellar late at night, the troupe play music, tell stories, mime, dance and entertain anyone who will put themselves in great danger just to hear a bedtime story.

In collaboration with DINA venue, “Club Bazaar” took place in The Cellar, a room now owned and managed by Dear Hunter, Theatre. The very room itself gave the perfect vibe for the show; it looked like the troupe really had made a theatre out of an underground cellar.

The score was written in a total of 6 days (a stressful time period but a productive one at that), and was underscored throughout. My vision for the musicians was a fun to imagine and brainstorm before I wrote any of the actual music.

My concept for the music was simple: The musicians have had no formal training on the instruments they will play, and the instruments you see and hear were found on their own. The piano, with the front and bottom taken off, the violin found amazingly with the bow, and the snare drum on it’s own, yet upside down. The musicians and actors in this dystopian future have heard a handful of records in secret, so a few songs that are sung are influenced by certain styles. “The Motley Rat Sisters” was influenced by an unnamed 12-bar-blues record they heard.

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Drummer: Will Shaw//Photography by: Cordelia O’Driscoll

I pictured every instrument I could, and thought “If I had never seen this instrument before, how would I play it?” and the funnest instrument I could think of to prepare would be the snare drum. If I placed myself in the shoes of the musician I can image I would probably play the beads of the snare drum.

And the salt?

I wanted to recreate the sound of a typical swung crotchet-quaver-quaver beat that was typically played on a high-hat with brushes. After listening to numerous records, I imagined the sound could have been someone using salt as a shaker, or rubbing it with their hands in that rhythm to create the same “ch-chch-ch-chch” feel.

I won’t lie, the violin was de-tuned because the piano we now own was very old and the lovely piano tuner couldn’t bring it up to concert pitch, but it’s definitely more exciting and different to rename the violin so everything has something weird and whacky in the title.

That’s a basic introduction to “Club Bazaar”! I’ll be doing a write up of every scene including scores, photos and videos so feel free to check them out!

Featured Image by Pippa Atkinson

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