“Club Bazaar” was written by Ben Price and Miriam Schechter, and we produced it through our company Dear Hunter, Theatre.
A little about Dear Hunter.
Back in May 2016, Ben Price, Pippa Atkinson, Katie Seeley, Thalia Caddy and myself formed Dear Hunter in Sheffield. We all studied at the University of Sheffield, and most of us had met through the Sheffield University Theatre Company (SUTCO). Ben had an idea for a new show called “The Iconoclasts,” and he wanted a live band to play covers of songs whilst always being visible onstage. I loved the idea of making some new theatre, but I was cautious about dealing with so many covers. I floated the idea of writing a totally original score for the show and Ben agreed! We started planning the original music from then on, keeping only one parody number: “Full English Brexit” (“Man, I feel like a woman”)
“The original songs were clever and catchy… Emily Compton’s score was excellent.” ***** Forge Press
Following the death of their beloved sister, Estelle, a controversial family of Northern Irish celebs resolves to let by gones be by gones and throw a show-biz spectacular in her honour. Joining The Iconoclast family on tour, audiences were dazzled by a variety show of music, magic, poetry, dance, drag and comedy, with a fully original score. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But the past just always has that way of turning up un-announced.
At Dear Hunter, Theatre we have a strong vision and drive to create fast-paced irreverent theatre, involving actor musicians. We integrate our music with the onstage drama as much as possible in each show, which in turns creates a new and engaging style of actor-musician theatre.
“It’s a show with catchy tunes… The funk band in the background was an absolute treat too.” **** Fringe Guru
After the first run back in November 2016, “The Iconoclasts” was selected to perform at the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) in 2017. The show then toured the UK, and had a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Now in 2018 we are reviving the show for Greenwich Theatre 28th-29th May and Stantonbury Theatre on May 30th. We will also be appearing at Incoming Festival in London and Manchester late June, so keep an eye out for dates if you want to catch the show this year!
“The original compositions by Emily Compton are extraordinary, giving the performers great opportunities to show off their skills – and the live funk band made the night what it was, with each of their number having their own character to fit into the complex plot…Despite the band’s skills, the most beautiful “act” of the show came in an a cappella quartet which – perhaps because it was so unexpected after the razzmatazz of the other performances – took my breath away.”
**** Broadway Baby
You can hear “Estelle’s Song” mentioned above here.
Our second show as a company was called “Club Bazaar,” and the music was of a completely different nature and style to “The Iconoclasts”
Still involving actor-musicians, this time the music was for prepared piano, prepared snare drum (salted) and de-tuned violin, opposing the funk band/folk fusion setup written for “The Iconoclasts.” The script was written as a collaboration between Ben Price and Miriam Schechter.
In the creative stages of “The Iconoclasts,” Ben wrote out lyrics very poetically, and I tweaked them to fit more rhythmically to a metre. The lyrics would always come first. For “Club Bazaar” however, we wrote the first section of “Ripley Family Circus Time!” as an audition piece. I asked Ben to write me a third verse, and with the melody already in his head he found it easier to come up with the lyrics. This was something good to bare in mind as in the past we had always written the lyrics first and music second.
It was great working with Ben on a second show, as we had the ability to change the way we worked with each other to inspire our respective writing. An extended technique I enjoy using is playing the trumpet into an open piano with the sustain pedal held down (the strings of an upright if sat on the stool, or a grand piano with a helper holding down the sustain pedal). It creates a magnificent chorus, holding each tone, and I wanted to incorporate it into the show. Ben recorded me doing this and listened to the recording on repeat whilst writing the final monologue that ended the show; here, my music inspired Ben’s writing.
Miriam and I had never worked together before as writers. I played Olivia Doust’s piano score for Miriam’s show “Blackbird” that was also selected at the National Student Drama Festival in 2017, but working with a composer so closely was something new for Miriam. We hit it off right away, and Miriam wrote some cheeky lyrics to her scenes The Motley Rat Sisters.
Blackbird: Play by Miriam Schechter, music by Olivia Doust
The next few posts will include a scene-by-scene analysis of “Club Bazaar”, including videos, scores and my personal writing stages and inspirations for each play!
Featured Image: James Wordsworth