After seeing Ours Was the Fen Country by Dan Canham last night I was really inspired by the company’s use and manipulation of sound. After beginning by putting on iPod headphones and synchronizing their music the Fens were brought to life through a combination of audio recorded interviews with the inhabitants of the Fens, many of whom spoke on similar topics, so their words were layered together to create a verbal collage.
Though throughout the piece the actors used the words in a variety of ways: repeating the interview to the audience as themselves but keeping the spoken idiosyncrasies the same, using the rhythm of the language to create movement or saying the words at the same time as it could be heard on stage. My favourite use of the voice recordings was when an actor, alone in the spotlight, mimed to the words heard on stage, and moved as if it was him speaking them. It was the subtlety of his movements which really made it memorable for me, it was so seemingly unconscious and natural. The fact that the interviewee on the recording sounded older than the actor didn’t seem to matter, but it made the personality of the bodiless voice on the recording come alive, and brought humour and empathy to the man who was telling his story.
Y Ganolfan, 2014
MAYK (2012) Still House: Ours Was the Fen Country. [online] Bristol: MAYK Theatre Ltd. Available from http://www.mayk.org.uk/portfolio/ours-was-the-fen-country/ [Accessed 9 February 2014].
Still House (2013) Still House. [online] Available from https://soundcloud.com/still_house [Accessed 10 April 2014].
Still House (2014) Ours Was The Fen Country. [online] Available from http://www.stillhouse.co.uk/stilhouse/stillhouse_-_ours_was_the_fen_country.html [Accessed 10 April 2014].
Y Ganolfan (2014) Ours Was the Fen Country – Research and Development \ Ymchwil a Datblygiad. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iooLjMs90aw [Accessed 20 April 2014].