Preview: 'Deadlier Things'
By: Taliha Gazi
Taliha, ST.ART’s Arts and Culture Sub-Editor, has recently caught up with Tiffany Black, who has both written and directed the much anticipated upcoming performance of Deadlier Things. Deadlier Things will be hosted by MUSA on November 7th. There is still the opportunity to purchase tickets here at: https://www.yourunion.net/ents/event/826/.
ST.ART: Hi there, Tiffany. Deadlier Things will be showing its one and only performance next week on November 7th. As director and writer, can you give a brief outline of the plot, and a few ideas of what to expect?
Tiffany Black: Firstly, Deadlier Things is a murder mystery play, which fuses elements of comedy and romance together with a jazz band and a hilarious cast. You can expect a lot of fun and flexibility from the actors, who’ll respond to the audience’s own reactions to the action happening on stage. There’s been a lot of revelry, and we’ve had so much fun in rehearsals! The production of Deadlier Things has been a collaborative process and, as a means of writing the script, I’ve taken segments from a pre-existing script, while incorporating strategies, such as improvisation (watch out for the interrogation scenes), and hot-seating. Members of the audience will contribute to the show’s development, and will even move with the actors as they progress through the galleries of MUSA.
ST.ART: Deadlier Things describes itself as an ‘interactive murder mystery’. How will it be different from other student-run shows performed in St Andrews?
TB: Since the show is interactive, for that very reason it’ll also be unique. The plot of the play is based on the opening of an exhibition, which makes the setting of Deadlier Things, The Museum of St Andrews (MUSA), even more fitting. Everything the audience experiences, so do the characters, and, ultimately, I think the play’s use of audience participation will be what makes it most memorable.
ST.ART: You’ve almost anticipated my next question, Tiffany! MUSA is an unusual location for a play. Why did you choose it over other more standard venues, like the Barron or the Byre?
TB: I feel that our choice of location adds another element to the play. Not only does MUSA create the right atmosphere but, as I mentioned earlier, it will feel like the opening of an exhibition, which is where Deadlier Things kicks off. Also, not many people have heard of MUSA, even though it’s right on our doorstep, and is very beautiful. The Prosecco reception which will open the event will be accompanied by live jazz music performed by St Andrews’ very own jazz band. I think the whole atmosphere which will be evoked will make us all feel like we’ve stepped into some kind of time warp! More importantly, however, we’ve been able to open up the walls of MUSA to create a larger space for our performance, which we wouldn’t have been able to do elsewhere.
ST.ART: What sort of murder mystery is Deadlier Things akin to? Is it as grave as an Agatha Christie thriller, or as trivial and fun as a game of Cluedo?
TB: It’s definitely closer to a game of Cluedo, simply because of how comedic the play is! But, there are darker elements to Deadlier Things, so the audience shouldn’t get too comfortable in their seats!
ST.ART: Sounds like good advice to me! What inspired you to write Deadlier Things, and why did you choose the Roaring Twenties as the setting?
TB: I just thought Deadlier Things would be a good event to kill off the mid-semester blues, especially since we’re still in the shadow of Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes Night. It’ll have glamour, and will hark back to a golden era in history. It’ll also make good use of our jazz band, who I feel aren’t utilised enough, despite their overwhelming talent. I’m also a singer, so the ‘20s naturally has an appeal to me because of the music which was produced around that time. Above all, Deadlier Things will provide just the right amount of escapism, giving us all an excuse to dress up in our fanciest clothes, and forget about the outside world of looming exams and deadlines!
ST.ART: Finally, let’s talk On The Rocks! As the Head of Events for the largest student-run arts festival in Scotland, can you give us a taster of what the festival has to offer next year? Are there any new surprises worth keeping our eyes peeled for?
TB: This year, On The Rocks will feature both old favourites and new additions. Popular features, such as the arts industry event, where creatives from journalism, theatre, TV, the stage and casting come together to give talks and Q&A sessions to students interested in working in these industries, as well as Music Is Love’s perennial Music Café, will remain on next year’s set list. But, unlike last year, On The Rocks will have its own outdoor cinema event, a food festival, and a fun fair, so there’ll be something new and exciting for everyone.
The On The Rocks festival will take place between 31st March – 9th April 2017. If you’re interested in getting involved, there is still time to propose an event idea. The deadline for applications is 10th January 2017. For more information, and further details about deadlines, please visit the ‘On The Rocks Festival’ page on Facebook, and give them a like. If you have any further queries, don’t hesitate to send On The Rocks a message at: https://www.facebook.com/ontherocksfestival/.