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
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
it is early evening, and someone is crossing the road, towards a
park. And she sees a crack on the road, under her foot.
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.
We need art that
does not make people think, but rather walks them through an inner
space that is hard to traverse.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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...
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 FAQs. Lewis 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.