IT’S DARK OUTSIDE
It’s Dark Outside is on show at Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre Of WA from Friday, June 29, ’til Saturday, July 14. Bookings can be made through BOCS.
Back in 2009, Perth theatre-makers Tim Watts, Arielle Gray and Chris Isaacs of Weeping Spoon Productions premiered a quirky, low budget show at the Blue Room Theatre entitled The Adventures Of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer. Little did they know that their beloved Alvin was about to become bigger than Ben-Hur… Following rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, Alvin Sputnik was then picked up by the Perth Theatre Company, as well as being toured internationally to far off places such as New York, India and Auckland.
Three years on from first staging the show, Watts and his fellow thespians are finally getting the chance to whet their appetite with something new.
“Yes, it’s great working on a new project because last year was pretty much just Alvin,” Watts tells X-Press while on a break from It’s Dark Outside rehearsals. “Last year I was going a little insane doing the one thing over and over,” he chuckles.
Though they certainly grew tired of staging the same show day in, day out, extensive touring for The Adventures Of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer helped Watts, Gray and Isaacs further develop their practice, which shaped their approach to It’s Dark Outside.
“Getting to perform one show that many times in front of that many people, you get bored so you start to dissect what works and you get to have more in depth and varied chats with people about what they like and didn’t like about it so you get to form more of an understanding about the show.”
Inspired by a number of things – including Watts’ fascination with Sundowner Syndrome (a strange symptom of Alzheimer’s disease that sees people go wandering at sunset), It’s Dark Outside combines puppetry, animation and live performance to create a fearless show about aging.
“It’s a bit of a strange one because I’ve tried to do lots of research on it and generally it’s just a bit of a mystery. At sunset for some reason the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are heightened quite a lot and what that results in is people going wandering at sunset which is just bizarre. To me poetically, it feels like this bizarre primal instinct about getting back to wild, even though it’s not a very wise survival instinct to wander around especially if you’re frail and losing your mind. It was basically just that, an image of an old man wandering down into the wild at sunset that was a bit of an image for this show. Whenever we’re thinking about what fits the show and what doesn’t, it always comes back to that, an image of an old man wandering out into the wild at sunset.”
In a bid to heighten the themes and emotions touched on in It’s Dark Outside, Watts, Gray and Isaacs have brought Rachael Dease on board to create a unique and moving score for the production.
“Because there’s no real words in this show, the soundtrack is incredibly important and really lifts the show. What she’s created so far is just gorgeous. It’s a relatively simple soundscape with western influences in it so it will hopefully really lift the piece and give it that magical and adventurous feeling. It gives the piece a real rising, sweet, sad, hope in a way. We’re really thrilled she is a part of this project. Music is such an important part of the theatrical experience and it’s great to have someone of such talent creating a score for us.”