Montblanc & Salzburg Festival Young Directors Project
Alexander Scott • YDP III • Orpheus
Guest performance Little Bulb Theatre
Co-production of the Little Bulb Theatre with the Battersea Arts Centre
Little Bulb Theatre are produced by Farnham Maltings
In English with German surtitles
Duration approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes
Print programme (PDF)
Alexander Scott, Director
Dominic Conway, Musical Direction
Liz Moreton, Producer
Mary Drummond, Design
Ed Clarke, Sound Design
Phil Bentley, Lighting
Max Humphries, Masks and Puppets
Clare Beresford, Double Bass
Dominic Conway, Guitar
Miriam Gould, Violin
Charlie Penn, Piano
Tom Penn, Percussion
Eugenie Pastor, Flute / Swanee Whistle
Alexander Scott, Clarinet
Shamira Turner, Accordion
The scene is Paris during the 1930s. A time when the worst is presumed to be over; a time for love, a time for music, a time for exuberant, life-affirming harmony. But in the midst of this state of hard-earned joy, of freshly-discovered passion, death returns to carry off the most beautiful and alluring of human creatures. Maybe there are worse times to come? Or is there a possibility that someone claimed by death can be redeemed?
We are in a rundown cabaret theatre. Euridyce, played by the chanteuse Yvette Papin, has been abducted and taken to the underworld. Orpheus, played by our guitar hero Django Reinhardt, sets off on an epic journey to save her. It’s not hard to tell that the story we are being told is fictitious – and yet the music the actors are playing is real and so are the feelings this evokes.
It’s possible to describe Little Bulb as a company of actors who all play musical instruments or as a group of musicians who all act. Their appearance in this year’s Salzburg Festival theatre programme follows on from our previous music/theatre crossover productions Meine Bienen. Eine Schneise and Ein Sommernachtstraum, albeit on this occasion within the context of the Young Directors Project. In the words of director Alex Scott, Orpheus ‘is a beautiful story, one we’ve discovered has been told in so many forms. It’s a story about why people make music and its strange and mysterious power to change things.’
Orpheus is part play, part concert, both driven forward by the thumping rhythms of live jazz and it finds a warm and highly engaging form in which to address a number of questions which also occur elsewhere in this season’s programme: questions of love, of loss, and of how to behave in the face of death.
Little Bulb Theatre was formed in 2008, when its members graduated from the University of Kent. Their first show Crocosmia won three awards at that year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Orpheus is their largest and most complex show to date.