Sunday, 27 June 2010

An Inspector Calls: Music Music Music

In the days when I was assistant director to Ollie, way before Chris came along I decided that I wanted to add things to the play which would make the production very much our own. I think the problem when you are doing a very well known play is that it can become stale and predictable ever so easily. Both myself and Ollie had already planned a couple of twists to An Inspector Calls to keep it fresh, but in my mind this wasn't enough.

In all my time in going to the theatre I had often noted how music was used in order to create an atmosphere and to heighten our senses to that particular moment on stage. Drawing reference to Avenue Q, "Theres a Fine, Fine Line", stylistically it is different to the majority of the songs, but is used to capture Kate Monster's heartbreak in the show. Its an effective moment in the musical and I wanted to have that same effectiveness in An Inspector Calls. I also knew that unlike many small productions we too would need music. Well its not so much small productions don't need music, rather they tend to overlook the benefits of using it. The only problem was who would do it? If you use other peoples music which has already been published, you risk having to pay royalties. Further more it would not be truly unique to our show. We needed something written for us.... easier said than done surely?

There was only one person with such a passion for both music and theatre who I felt could deliver this. His name - Tom Haggerty. Funny enough it was these very blogs that kindled a friendship between myself and Tom. Like me he very much enjoyed Billy Elliot The Musical, and somehow whilst browsing the Internet (one would imagine only for naughty sites he shouldn't be looking at) he landed on one of my blogs. Tom proceeded to read them, then contacted me. Since that day we have talked regularly and built a fairly solid friendship which is awesome. It was also a moment where I realised that these blogs reach far more people than I ever thought would ever read them which was quite a nice feeling.

Anyhow, back to Tom. I knew he would have some ideas, but I also knew it would be a big ask of him. When I approached him about this opportunity I was expecting a thanks, but no thanks kind of reply. After all he is 16 maybe 17 (I am rubbish at remembering ages) and studying for exams, which he has since completed. Tom instead grasped the opportunity with both hands... well not literally, I spoke to him online, so it would be hard to grasp it with two hands... unless he grabbed hold of his laptop at that exact moment in time or something to that effect... I'm drifting off topic aren't I?

With Ollie at the helm I asked him to contact Tom so as they could work together to make music which would fit Ollie's direction and visions for the play. Though as you will have read yesterday, Ollie was in fact useless. This meant that 3 or 4 weeks down the line from agreeing to do the music Tom still had no idea what was required of him. I therefore took it upon myself as my first big decision as covering director to get the music sorted. I believe it was a Friday evening when I sent Tom a list of what I needed from him or maybe a Saturday... it was the weekend anyhow. I have to be honest with exams in mid flow I didn't expect anything to be done before July.

The following day a facebook notification popped up "Tom Haggerty has written something on your wall". Tom surely wanted clarification on something I had asked of him. No not at all! In fact he had the first draft of a piece of music for the play. That's what you call service. It really captured the feeling I was looking for, and for what Tom described as a very rough draft piece of music I was very impressed, so much so I have lined him up for our society's future projects also. There is still more to come which I am very excited about.

Having Tom on board has allowed us to bring extra dimension to the play. We always wanted to make this as professional as possible and this touch will really help, so if you do decide to come see the show, listen out to the music... thats all the work of Tom Haggerty.

With the music in place we needed to get to work on the read through's, which no doubt I will tell you all about another day.

G x

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