by Thomas Arbor
Released 16th March 2021

This is a compilation of music made for theatre productions between 2013 & 2018.

Huge thanks to directors Stella ReidJane Yonge & Daniel Emms for having me collaborate on their immersive and adventurous work. 

Thanks also to Long Cloud Youth Theatre, Toi Whakaari, Bats Theatre and the many talented designers, actors, crew & support staff I've had the pleasure of working with.

Press play & browse the boxes & links below for more info on individual tracks and productions.

Track / Production Info:

1. The Quiet Room

Written by Renee Liang / Directed by Jane Yonge / Performed at BATS Theatre, Wellington : 24 September - 3 October 2015.

"The greatest anguish for any parent comes when their child falls sick. But when the illness is terminal then this becomes intensified, almost beyond belief. How do they deal with it, how does the child cope and what of the carers, the doctors involved in treating the illness? These are the questions canvassed in Renee Liang's excellent new play The Quiet Room" - Ewen Coleman, Stuff.co.nz

2. Oneironaut

Devised by Longcloud Youth Theatre / Directed by Stella Reid / Performed at Whitireia Performance Centre, Wellington, 19 Jul 2013 to 31 Jul 2013.

"Their incredible promenade piece, Oneironaut (Whitireia Theatre), guided audiences through the whimsical world of the company’s subconscious. Played in a beautifully designed land of bedside lamps, Oneironaut blended the company’s trademark grassroots actor training and an engagement with contemporary theatre making, firmly securing Long Cloud as the most exciting youth theatre company in Wellington." - Samuel Phillips, The Lumiere.

Check the original 2013 mood-board & rehearsal notes from the production on the Oneironaut Tumblr and find the 'Score for the See-Through Room' which this music was the soundtrack for.

Sean Kelly aka Seth Frightening also composed music for this show, including the track Dress Rehearsal Dead Meat [watch video].

3. Entrancer

From The Adding Machine. Adapted from the 1923 play by Elmer Rice by Long Cloud Youth Theatre, 2015. Directed by Stella Reid.

'The Adding Machine follows the all too familiar story of a number-crunching employee at a large faceless corporation who becomes lost in the repetitive tedium of his job... (the) 1923 play is thrust into absolute relevance as the Adding Machine deals with such issues as the individual pursuit of profit, the dehumanising effects of mass culture, sexism and racism. The dystopian feel to Zero’s reality is intensified by the fact that these issues are increasingly important in the present day. The story is almost trapped in a void that Director Stella Reid describes as “an ahistorical vortex – fifty years in the past, but also (if we aren’t careful), fifty years in the future." ' - Thomas Aitken, Theatreview

4. Unrest

From The Hades Complex (2014) directed by Daniel Emms at Te Whaea, Toi Whakaari.

"Contained within the monolithic architecture of Te Whaea Theatre, The Hades Complex seeks to capture the volatile forces at work within the process of losing something close to us.

Inspired by classical and ancient mythology, the piece uses visionary, sensory and visceral experiences to explore human behaviour around grief and loss. The piece invites you into a series of worlds ranging from the grotesque to the uniquely beautiful.

Populated by epic characters, surreal costumes, a transformative lighting design and joined by the musical force that is i.ryoko; The Hades Complex promises to be an un-missable theatrical event.” 

Side note: This track was also pressed on a limited edition 7" Lathe Cut split with Alexander Tucker thanks to End of the Alphabet Records.

5. The Mountebank

From The Mountebank (Directed by Stella Reid, at 109 Dixon St [thanks to Letting Space / Urban Dream Brokerage], 2014)

"A MOUNTEBANK is a person who deceives and misdirects, and the venue for the latest work from Stella Reid’s Long Cloud Youth Theatre, The Mountebank, lives up to its name... this work takes its audience on an innovative, immersive journey... audiences gather in the foyer of a new hotel. The frame of the show casts the audience as party guests, invited to a party by an unseen ‘host’. The show is a ‘game’, and we win by finding the host, and deciphering why we’ve been invited." - Samuel Phillips, The Lumiere Reader

6. Stairwell 1

From The Mountebank, as above.

7. The Wolves

Written by (Pulitzer nominated!) Sarah DeLappe / Directed by Stella Reid / Presented by Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa: New Zealand Drama School at Te Whaea, 12 June 2018 to 21 July 2018.

"a timely play about a girls’ high school soccer team that illuminates with the unmistakable ping of reality the way young selves are formed when innate character clashes with external challenges." -Pulitzer.org

8. Stairwell 2

From The Mountebank, as above.

9. Tapes

From The Basement Tapes / Written by Stella Reid & Jane Yonge / Created by Stella, Jane, Oliver Morse, Thomas Lambert & Jason Longstaff.

This award-winning show has had multiple seasons in Aotearoa, Australia and the UK, 2017-2019. More info at Zanetti Productions.

"Following her grandmother’s death, a girl faces the overwhelming task of clearing out the basement. She discovers a series of mysterious tape recordings made by her grandmother. As she hears these tapes for the first time, things start to unravel... Twin Peaks meets Serial in this award-winning New Zealand mystery, which combines the immediacy of physical performance with the imaginative capabilities of audio recording. Squeezed close together among the detritus of a cluttered basement, audience and performer face the waves of secrets and memories that emerge."

"What makes The Basement Tapes so goddamned impressive is the way the writing continually wrongfoots expectations – at various points the show feels like it could be about a young woman’s voyage of self-discovery; an unlikely romcom with a classic meet-cute; a Chaplin-esque physical comedy; a thoughtful meditation on grief, guilt and regret; an unsettling and visceral horror." - The Scotsman

10. The Basement

From The Basement Tapes (see above: 9. Tapes)

I feel like this track almost needs a trigger-warning - it's basically designed to start intense and get consistently more intense for over 8 minutes straight...

"An impressive use of sound culminates in the climax of the piece where the booming, resonating speakers reach 105 decibels, reverberating through the audience. For reference, 105 decibels sits within the same range as that of someone screaming into your ear, a rock concert or a car horn. It would be interesting to know the frequency (HZ) in which the sound design operated in, as there are studies that focus on the effect of sound physiologically upon the human body. According to James Larson who wrote about and conducted an experiment on the physical sensation of sound (specifically bass), different frequencies can provoke somatosensory responses from pressure in the chest, tingling, headaches and overwhelming senses of anxiety. The study speculated that sound emissions at a specific frequency might cause some people to feel ‘haunted’. It is fascinating how far we can push a convention we usually deem to be aesthetic to a more psychological and physiological arena, and then manipulate that for effect. Knowingly or not, the effect of having 105 decibels in a small, bricked up space definitely makes us jump like cats and feels unsettling."Rachael Longshaw-Park, Theatrescenes

Side note: here's our 'band photo' taken in front of the set at Auckland's Basement Theatre:

L - R: Thomas Lambert, Jane Yonge, Stella Reid, Joe Wright, Jason Longstaff.

11. Winner's Circle

From The Mountebank, as above.

This piece was in the room which only a limited number of 'winners' found. To get there they had to successfully interpret clues in the performance environment (actors and set were spread through a dis-used multi-story office building - thanks UDB!).

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