An Interview with Hanbury & Groves by Snape Maltings

At the beginning of September 2017, Alex Groves (Composer and Sound Designer) and Rebecca Hanbury (Director) were at Snape Maltings as part of their Open Space residency. They were there to begin work on their new project A Time of Listening, which is part of Ovalhouse' FiRST BiTES series of new performance pieces. You can see the work-in-development showing on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 September: book tickets here.

Rebecca: We're working on a project called 'A Time of Listening', this project is about the relationship between truth and memory. We're interested in people and stories and people's perceptions of their own lives; the show questions the extent to which our memories are truthful and the extent to which our memories are real.

We've being doing quite a lot of research in psychology and into neuroscience and discovered some amazing literature on how the human brain has a huge capacity to generate false memories to make memories that never happened. Or to change and alter the memories that we do have.

So this was the starting point for the show we're going to make, we are looking in terms of content to tell the story of a woman called Eleanor, not sure how much more we want to tell you about her story yet - we've basically spent a big part of this week figuring out who she is and fleshing out her life and creating a story board and then the next big question for us is how we tell that story and what the form of that story is, which questions whether the character's memory is truthful or not.

Alex: What's really interesting for me is that our relationship with music is often a memory, especially with live performance, we don't have a physical thing in front of you, you're constantly remembering the music that you've heard and we're seeing how can we play with the audience's recollections from earlier in the show, how can take music and use those memories of the music to colour the things their seeing and how can we change how they see events that maybe happen again in the piece but maybe with different music.

So for me I think the interesting things we're finding is that music can be used as a layer to colour what's happening on stage and bring up different emotional states and also be used to enforce that process of forgetting and recreating and mis-remembering through changing how the audience remembers the music they're hearing.

With thanks to Snape Maltings for this interview and photographs.