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James' theatre challenge : Paris XY's James Orvis to produce and perform live score for play

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Published on 15th February 2016.


James' theatre challenge

Paris XY's James Orvis to produce and perform live score for play

James Orvis is no stranger to performing on stage as one half of Paris XY but sharing it with a group of actors is unknown territory for the Leeds-based musician.

The producer is writing and performing the live score for Middle Child theatre company's next play, Ten Storey Love Song, which shows at Hull Truck Theatre in March.

The play is a world premiere adaptation of Richard Milward's novel of the same name about the residents of Peach House, a Middlesbrough tower block.

They include Bobby the Artist, his girlfriend Georgie, Johnny the drug dealer and Alan Blunt, a vile, forty year old truck driver.

This ensemble and the various addictions depicted in the play - including drugs, sex and sugar - have driven the music down an eclectic, electric route.

"The score has been inspired by a mixture of genres including acid house, techno, garage rock, electronica, pop and experimental noise," says James.

"Each character has their own Spotify playlist that I put together with director Paul Smith, and we've used these as a reference point to build a musical style for each character.

It was Paul who invited James to be involved in the project after seeing him perform in his hometown of Hull.

"I first saw Paris XY at the Freedom Festival a few years back and knew from that moment that I was desperate to work with James and create an electronic soundtrack with an authentic gig vibe," says Paul.

That gig vibe will see the score performed by James live on stage, alongside singer Anna Wilson, who also appeared in Middle Child's award-winning Weekend Rockstars, with the pair occupying one of the fictional flats of the tower block set.

"Anna is an amazingly talented vocalist whose role is to deliver some of the character lyrics added to the script by writer Luke Barnes," explains James.

"There have been some awesome moments in rehearsals so far where Anna has improvised some great melodies over the music, so I'm excited to hear how these songs develop over the next two weeks."

The rehearsals in particular and the theatre company's creative process have been one of the biggest challenges for James, who has no previous experience of working in theatre.

"The most challenging aspects has been working within the four week time frame to get the music ready and rehearse for the shows.

"Normally, I would spend weeks or months writing an EP until I felt it was ready to release, so letting go of the perfectionist in me has been a massive challenge but also extremely liberating."

Alongside James' electronic score there are also projections from video artist Euan Baker.

"Euan's visuals will be synced to the music and affected by various modulations to create a trippy audio visual backdrop," adds James. "The acid trips in the show are completely nuts and I can't wait to see how the audience react."

Ten Storey Love Song opens in the studio at Hull Truck Theatre at 8pm on Wednesday 2 March, with a Pay What You Can performance, and runs until Saturday 12 March.

Matinee performances are at 2pm on Saturday 5 March and Saturday 12 March.

Tickets cost 12 (10 concessions; Pay What You Can on Wednesdays) and the show is strictly 18+, with depictions of sex, violence and drug use.



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Electronic duo from Leeds


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