From the creators of BADD : Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons (Highly Commended at VAULT 2017), comes Hermetic Arts new project, UNBURIED, which is now showing at the Vault Festival. The creators behind Unburied, performer/co-writer Carrie Marx and director Chris Lincé discuss their new work, Unburied, their fascination with 1970s folk horror, the notion of memory and nostalgia as well as their interest in the TV hit series, Doctor Who.
What kind of work did you have to prepare for the piece, Unburied?
HERMETIC ARTS: Mostly watching a LOT of 1970s television. But we had a head start on this, as we’d already lost ourselves in that world after attending the Folk Horror Revival event at the British Museum in 2016. There are a lot of great research resources currently out there, most notably Richard Molesworth’s book “Wiped”, Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence’s “Scarred For Life”, Adam Scovell’s “Folk Horror”, and “Field Studies” edited by Andy Paciorek and Katherine Beem.
Growing up did you watch Doctor Who?
CHRIS: Yes. A lot.
CARRIE: I came to Doctor Who late in life, because my mother clearly didn’t want me to have a magical childhood. I spent my early twenties devouring it; the show even got a mention in my marriage vows.
Do you believe in the idea, which the Aborigines have, that a photograph is a memory of yourself?
CHRIS: That’s interesting – I think I’m more intrigued in memory as a creative act: the recreation rather than the recollection of something that no longer exists. Photographs provide a window into the past, but the onus is then on the viewer to create the memory in the present moment.
How much do you love Horror movies and horror/scary-type things? Or are you genuinely interested in the notion of memories?
HERMETIC ARTS: We love spooky stuff. Particularly 1970s spooky stuff. Even more particularly 1970s Folk Horror spooky stuff. Our favourite hidden gem in London is the Horse Hospital by Russell Square, where they host the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. That’s where we found the inspiration for our first show, ‘BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons)’.
CHRIS: I’m really interested in the politicisation of memory – of how fragmented and unreliable memories can be exploited for political gain. How nostalgia can be used to turn people against each other.
How do you want the audience to feel when they watch Unburied?
HERMETIC ARTS: Relaxed into a false sense of security…
You wear many hats! You’re an actor, singer, writer and musician. Do you have a preference of being one of them?
CARRIE: Not really! I like to rotate my hats so they don’t get smelly.
CHRIS: In a very tangential way, Hannah Gadsby’s recent show ‘Nanette’ touched on some similar themes that we dip into …though in a very different genre and with some fairly notable differences in emphasis! There have also been a number of works recently about ways of reframing traditional ideas of nationalism (Bartlett’s ‘Albion’; Mullarkey’s ‘Saint George and the Dragon’), which is something lurking under the surface of our show.
Any advice for a young artist who want to produce work for theatre?
HERMETIC ARTS: Hold your own work to the highest standards possible. Never stop reminding yourself that audiences have gifted you with their money and their time, so treat that gift with respect. Don’t work with pricks – there are loads of them out there and they should be discouraged. Be responsible. Be empathetic. Be kind.