Whatever Gets You Through the Night - artist interviews

Stef Smith, Kieran Hurley, Withered Hand, Wounded Knee and Annie Griffin

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Whatever - blurbs

Stef Smith

playwright
‘Everyone knows what 4am feels like. How exciting to explore the secrets, silences and stolen moments that take place then. My piece is about an elderly man driving through the night to get to Loch Lomond. I felt it was important to show that it’s not just drunk twentysomethings who stay up all night. I also wanted to explore how personal that time of night is: so often we are simply left alone with our thoughts as our only company. The silence in the countryside at night is unlike anything you can get in the city. You can hear your own breath and your mind starts to play tricks with you. You also feel miles away from humanity and this emphasises the aloneness, the stillness and the privacy that time of night brings.’

Drew Wright

Wounded Knee
‘For me, this is another typically atypical project. There is one solo piece using voice and loop pedal which is quite abstract and builds around a scene where a guy is taking his wife’s ashes to Loch Lomond. The other is a collaboration with beatboxer Bigg Taj, soundtracking a club scene. We are trying to sound like pumping techno using just our voices. It seems to work. Over the last two or three years I’ve been involved in a few projects that have gone beyond straight-up gigs, working with musicians and actors, often devising ideas from scratch. I already do things that blur the boundaries between music, performance, theatre. To me it’s all poetry, in the radical sense of the word.’

Annie Griffin

filmmaker
‘As a Cora Bissett fan, I was delighted to be asked to be involved, and I liked the idea of across Scotland through the night. We discussed some of the more unexpected places in Scotland, including the temples and meditation centres to be found in more remote areas of the country. The piece I submitted is based on a Buddhist prayer, and the state of mind of someone who needs to calm down. Badly. I sent it off months ago, have no idea what she and David have done with it, and can’t wait to see the show.’

Kieran Hurley

performer & theatremaker
‘I’m playing around with ideas about the weird emptiness that you sometimes feel at the end of a night out. One of the most recent full-length things I’ve written was about rave culture [BEATS] so my head is still in a place connected to all that stuff. I definitely wouldn’t have written this piece without the stimulus of this particular gig. I’m fascinated to see what the relationship with the different elements will be. Scotland’s got a brilliant music scene, and produces great theatre so it is certainly an exciting premise. It’s very cool to be involved in something alongside some excellent playwrights and truly brilliant musicians.’

Dan Willson

Withered Hand
‘I started writing songs in the coffee break of one of the development days, having seen some actors improvising around a couple of scenarios. We began to use them as reference points, like a script. It was interesting seeing the different forms – songs, script, acting – inform and influence each other. I picked up on ideas from the improvisations, which I found very funny and moving, and made them personal so I can sing them as part of the ensemble without feeling like a phoney. Expect a flower seller hawking plastic roses and a omniscient security guard. I have never written new songs in a coffee break before. Usually I write one every six months, when I am in some kind of daze. I should do it more often.’

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Live show that is just the tip of a multimedia iceberg involving an album, a collection of writing and a film. Created as a Vital Spark cross-platform commission by actor and director Cora Bissett, playwright David Greig and experimental music collective Swimmer One (and their home, Biphonic Records). Featuring writing…

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