22 Apr 2018

Genuine Voice

Post written by: Erin Walcon

So Hugh and I are working on a new piece.

We’ve worked on quite a few together before – we co-wrote for The Woods and collaborated on Grit, not to mention countless end-of-term sharings and short scratch pieces.

But this one is different. This one is personal.


It’s called You, Me and My Voice, and it is a somewhat flippant, somewhat fictionalised, somewhat irreverent look at voice.

We’re playing around with Hugh’s first foray into using voice generating software (basically a fancy tablet with a joystick), and much of the material is alive, being generated each week as we find our way through it.

What’s particularly challenging & wonderful & revealing & complex is that Hugh really is learning to use this software through the rehearsal period – and none of us are quite sure how we feel about that software’s functionality and impact yet. So we’re making a live piece about an alive issue. This stuff is real.

The 15 minute scratch sharing we did back on 28 March was fascinating and we learned a lot from it. You always learn a lot from trying out material with an audience, but in this case it was particularly revealing because of the audience-performer relationship being interactive. Bits of audience interaction were more tense & awkward than we’d expected… and we owe the members of DYT a massive a thank you for being audience plants in a somewhat painful way – by pretending to not understand Hugh and being really rather quite rude to him, which went against all their instincts as warm and thoughtful human beings. They slightly hated doing it, but they did with good humour and professionalism, and the results were fascinating.

(Although in retrospect, we maybe should have warned Hugh’s sister that there were audience plants acting up, because I thought she might punch someone at one point.)

Now, we are in the middle stages – post-scratch, and we are working hard. We’ve been joined by the wonder that is Steve Sowden musician, writer, film-maker, digitial specialist, and all-round wise and talented guy.

He’s been bringing his loop pedal to rehearsals and we’re trying to make music from the voice software machine, from Hugh’s chair, from the half-formed words we are struggling to find.


Final show is 10 & 11 May – at South Devon College. See you there?