Who are the company and how long have they been together?
Second Face is a Bath based company, dedicated to creating new work, with a particular focus on comedy… Although I wouldn’t call Ghost Hunt a comedy! We stared back in 2012 with Mouthing Off and now, two years on, are still producing work we can be proud of. We’ve been lucky enough to produce work like That Moment by Dougie Blaxland (“… a wonderful performance that is a delight to witness.” Guide 2 Bristol) and The Devil at Midnight by Brian Clemens (“a tour de force” Cotswold Arts and Events), and look forward to more in the future.
What is the show about? (brief synopsis)
Ghost Hunt is a site specific investigation at the Rondo, where we’ll take the audience on, quite literally, a hunt for ghosts. We’ll use techniques commonly employed by professional paranormal investigators to conduct controlled experiments in the space. Think Most Haunted, but better. With the help of audience members we’ll recreate and re-enact tales of the theatre, as well as uncover new ones. It’s a Halloween show so we’re obviously going to try and scare people, but we’re also hoping that it’ll be an informative, fun night. Maybe we’ll actually uncover some real ghosts – now that would be fun, wouldn’t it?!
What attracted you to creating this particular show?
I’m always trying to think of new and exciting ways to push boundaries in the theatre. Being resident at the Rondo this year has given me the luxury of having a space at my fingertips, and during show week the Rondo will be under construction. Rather than let the space sit empty for a week, we’re seizing the chance to use it for a show – theatres are creepy at the best of times, and when you peel back the layers of a space, you often find things you never expected. Horror has always been a genre that fascinates me. My comfort zone generally lies in the comedy realm, but horror excites me in ways nothing else does – and it’s hard. It’s hard, but really fun. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in a long time! But to collectively scare audiences, when fear is so subjective, is a skill. We want to scare up to 100 people at a time, how do we go about doing that? Well, you’ll just have to come and find out…
What was your vision for the production?
Hmm… My vision was to create something exciting. I always want to push myself to the limits of what I can do, and I think this show is up there. There’s seems to be a growing obsession with horror at the moment – everyone’s always talking about zombie apocalypses or demons possessing their children. You can’t walk past a cinema without seeing the next ‘Paranormal Activity’ or end-of-the-world blockbuster advertised. But film is one thing, you have all the special effects in the world at your fingers tips, the luxury of editing, and audiences have the safety of sitting in their own homes, in front of a screen. It’s not real. But theatre is – or can be. You’re sitting in a room with five actors come ghost hunters and they’re actually asking for things to come and play. They’re inviting things into a space where there is no screen, no special effects, no safety net. If something goes wrong, everyone will know about it and everyone will experience it. And that’s exciting. I want people to be excited. If nothing else, I want them to come away excited and to talk about the thing that lurks in this theatre – because there’s something here; I’ll tell you that for nothing. And we’re going to find out what it is.
What other productions have you staged?
I’ve recently directed Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (both by Dougie Blaxland) for Butterfly Psyche and Live Wire Theatre’s joint production of The Bronte Season, after taking Jane Eyre around the south west last autumn with Live Wire. I’m also the Intern Director at the Rondo so have directed the Rondo Scriptwriting Group’s show this spring, and now onto Ghost Hunt. Next year I’ll be doing the same at the Rondo. Other previous credits include The Devil at Midnight by Brian Clemens (Second Face Theatre Co.), That Moment by Dougie Blaxland (Second Face Theatre Co.) and The Gift by Ross Dunsmore (The Rondo Theatre).
What was your approach to creating this piece?
One of our main goals was to really get to grips with the space. We wanted to make sure that we left no stone unturned and really allowed ourselves to utilise every inch of the theatre. We also wanted to create something that was inclusive – not only have the cast had a huge amount of input during the devising process, this show is heavily audience reliant. It was also important for us to create a show – yes we’re going on a ghost hunt and that’s all well and good, but if nothing happens, if we don’t find any ghosts, we need to tell a story. We need to make sure the audience walk away remembering the show for the right reasons, and that’s been at the forefront of our work during the past few weeks.
Where can people find out more about you, the company and the show (web, facebook, twitter, venue listings etc)
The company is on Facebook and twitter, and both of these are updated regularly so people can stay up to date with things that are happening in the Second Face world!!
Twitter – @2ndFaceTheatre
Ghost Hunt is at the Rondo Theatre from Weds 29 October – Saturday 1 November.
Performances at 8pm with a special midnight matinee on Friday 31st (Halloween).
Tickets £12/£10 available from Bath Box Office or by phoning 01225 463362.