TRACING FAULTLINES

by Lewis Hetherington


Lewis Hetherington, playwright and theatre maker, shares the process of creating Faultlines as part of his 2015 Writers Project.
 The images used in this blog are stills from the video documentation of the project by Michael Sherrington of Forest of Black (watch the full video).

Faultlines 2


One day the world was turning as it always does. A blue green ball spinning in space. Everything is moving. The world turns so that every part of it is touched by the light of the sun and the dark of night.

 In Glasgow it is early evening, and someone is crossing the road, towards a park. And she sees a crack on the road, under her foot.

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I had this idea of a woman seeing a tiny crack in the road. A crack which starts small and gets bigger and bigger, tracing across cities and fields and car parks and rivers until it spreads across the whole surface of the planet. It deepens until no one can see the bottom. No one knows why it is there or where it came form. It is a story which starts in the everyday and falls headlong into myth.

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We need art that does not make people think, but rather walks them through an inner space that is hard to traverse.
Timothy Morton

This fissure which tears through the surface of the earth seems to take root inside the woman's head. She feels a fracture tracing across her skull. I was interested to find out how this fracture could have a presence in a live performance, in a way that felt visceral and immediate.

I went to see Gazelle Twin at the Fruitmarket. The vocals which emanated from this masked figure - distorted, fragmented, soaring and intimate - gave me the idea that the crack needed a voice, one borne out of layers of electronic noise, speech and song. Something at once organic and alien, something intimate and infinite.

Faultlines 1

I wanted to see what would happen if Elizabeth Bernholz, the artist behind Gazelle Twin, and I worked together on this idea. That's the core of the application I put forward to Playwrights' Studio, Scotland for a Writers Project.

Elizabeth and I spent a few days together with some text I had written; listening to sounds she created, trying to find the dark beating heart of this project. We had space at Platform where we sampled and manipulated our voices to create different qualities; sinister, beautiful, cosmic, pedestrian, distant, androgynous, synthetic.

We were then joined by actors (Lucianne McEvoy, Jenny Hulse and Martin Doherty) to find ways to fuse the characters and scenes I had written with the sounds and textures we'd created. We were interested in disturbances in sensory environment so we played with light using torches, strobing, darkness. We wanted to create environments that felt both limitless and claustrophobic; those deep dark chasms of the mind, which though seem infinite, exist inside the casing of our own fragile bodies.

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The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all it's contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity.
H.P Lovecraft 

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The process was documented by Michael Sherrington of Forest of Black and you can see the short film he made here.  The film captures something of the tone and atmosphere of the project - it was important to document the written, visual, and sonic elements. Listening with good headphones is recommended... 

  Faultlines 4 

 

Lewis received a Writers Project in 2015. Applications for 2017's Writers Projects are now open and the deadline is Friday 18 November at 5pm. Find out how to apply and read the Writers Projects FAQsLewis is also chairing a discussion about collaboration, Let's Work Together, at the Traverse Theatre in August as part of TalkFest 2016.

The images used in this blog are stills from the video documentation of the project by Michael Sherrington of Forest of Black. Watch the full video here.

Written by Lewis Hetherington at 12:00

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