PLAQUES & TANGLES

MUSIC FOR THE THEATRE · 2015


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Commissioned by Royal Court Theatre for Lucy Morrisonʼs adaption of Plaques & Tangles by Nicola Wilson.

Focusing on the interpersonal effects resulting from early onset Alzheimerʼs disease, Plaques & Tangles was, from day one, an emotional journey for cast, crew and audiences alike. Distancing himself, in so far as it was possible, from the emotive impact of the disease, Elms found that the chemical and physical processes of Alzheimerʼs could be represented through music in literal ways, such as deterioration and interpolation. Such literality was reflected throughout the entire design of the play, from the set of Andrew D. Edwards, which placed the audience inside the mind of lead character Megan, to the sound design of Emily Legg.

Elms used the pop-culture references strewn throughout Wilsonʼs script for the musicʼs construction. These references were broken down into constituent elements and then distorted through various processes to create the building blocks of the music, resulting in a sound as fragmentary and as abstract as the behavior of the protagonist. Elmsʼ music furthered the productionʼs suggestion that the audience was inside the mind of Megan by using the physical placement of instruments to represent the limbic system and lobes of the brain. Throughout the course of the play, the music deteriorates, as does the brain of Megan, by a gradual simplification of harmonic and rhythmic content.

2 PERCUSSION

crotales, vibraphone, chimes, triangle, cymbals (suspended), bass drum

1 HARP
1 KEYBOARD SAMPLER

amplified Kurzweil Sampler or Native Instrumentsʼ Kontakt Software*

1 PIANO
1 ELECTRIC CELLO

amplified with delay pedal

4 VIOLINS 2 VIOLA 2 CELLO 1 CONTRABASS

*These custom samples can be triggered via Kurzweil Sampler or Native Instrumentsʼ Kontakt software and the samples can be hired from Music Sales.

DURATION: 20 MINUTES
COMMISSIONED BY ROYAL COURT THEATRE
PUBLISHED BY MUSIC SALES
LONDON, SEPT-OCT 2015