We caught up with the cast of ‘The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler’ for a brief chat about their new play.
The play takes us on a journey through Cutler’s life music & poems.
It was as much a voyage of discovery for the cast and crew, as writer and onstage “Ivor” Sandy Grierson explains:
“He stands quite apart from the world that we live in now, he stood apart even back then.
We were talking about either going down the route of making an Ivor Cutler ‘Mamma Mia’ where you’d take a completely different story and then find ways fit in the songs, so it wouldn’t be about his life at all.
But then we decided not to do that.
He had this remarkable presence and the more we found out about his biography, how fascinating it all was, the songs would just gradually be slotted into place.
Then you’d end up thinking “how can we fit in all the best songs?” But you can’t do that. We had to decide what fits fits, and what doesn’t we’ll have to say bye-bye to.
It was impossible to separate the guy’s life from the work,” Music Director James Fortune added.
He had such a peculiar manifesto, not to show that would have done him a disservice.
It’s by definition interesting and out there.
Odd and beautiful.”
“You can hear a lot of where his music came from.
He loved Cowboy songs and his deep baritone voice is almost like someone like Paul Robeson or early Gospel.
“He was Jewish and you can hear a lot of Klezmer in there. He wouldn’t go as full on Klezmer as we’re doing, and yes we’ve orchestrated it to make it big and theatrical, but the leaps we’re making aren’t that big. It’s all in his music . Very simple music and the influence is very clear.”
In the preview scene we saw, Ivor and Phyllis meet up and go for a trip to an Aquarium, only to end up studying the audience before settling down for tea.
What would Phyllis King, Cutler’s long term on-off collaborator / partner / delete-as-applicable make of this show?
“She’s been very supportive,” says Elicia Daly, who portrays her onstage
“Apparently she’s coming to see the show which we’re a little nervous of. We didn’t want to imitate her in the play. We’ve used imitation for Ivor in the show but to imitate Phyllis would have been a bit much.”
Ivor Cutler was a member of the noise abatement society. There is a quote in the programme that reads “AMPLIFICATION is the curse of CIVILISATION”. What would he make of this play about his life?
“He’d probably have 2 fingers in his ears,” says Nick Pynn.
Who curiously is the only member of the cast to have seen Ivor perform?
“No, seriously, we found out a little from the conversations and phone calls we had with those who knew him. They thought he’d love it because it was about him but maybe wouldn’t like our interpretation of his music, but he played on bills with rock bands…?”
The music in the show is performed live.
The musicians adding extra voices where needed. “But he’d probably hope that it became a hit and went to Broadway and then there’d be the massive Broadway musical version of him and he’d have loved that.”
The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler runs in the Citizens Theatre from 9-19th April, Greenock Beacon Arts Centre on the 23rd, Stirling Macrobert on the 25th and finally the Traverse in Edinburgh from the 29th of April – 3rd May.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
RT @isthismusic: Photofeature: The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler: http://t.co/gV3DwVzf5M @ntsonline @citizenstheatre
I may actually get to see the #beautifulcosmos of Ivor Cutler. Until then I forgot to put this out there http://t.co/PsFGbfKIXY
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