Scoring the Trailer

Miriam’s instructions for the trailer were simple and clear; make it weird and make it creepy. Knowing the trailer was going to be starring two clowns in a dimly lit basement making a mess whilst trying to eat soup with forks, I wrote the first theme for our clowns.

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Send in the Clowns (Theme A)

In a fun compound time signature, this staccato melody keeps popping up during the trailer, in phrases of different lengths to reflect the chaos the clowns appear to be making. The idea of contrasting rhythms (2/4 against 6/8) features heavily in this trailer, alongside the unpredictable phrase lengths, adding to the complimentary confusion.

Check out the trailer below with the score! How many times did YOU hear the theme?

Club Bazaar Trailer – Full Score

Cinematography: Francis Rooney. Directed and edited by Miriam Schechter. Music by Emily Compton

Featured Image: Francis Rooney

The Creative Team

“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.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 15.38.30.pngBack 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

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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.

18623688_1743988572283076_2321275878715546246_o.jpgBlackbird: 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

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