Let Them Eat Chaos | Young Ferment Rehearsal Diary

12 Apr 2019

Hannah Davies, Director of Let Them Eat Chaos, talks to us about the process of developing the show. Created as part of Young Ferment, it will hit The Weston Studio, 25 – 27 Apr.

When beginning the rehearsal process for Let Them Eat Chaos it was virtually impossible to imagine any outcome similar to the one we’ve created, and are still creating. I joined the cast and creative team towards the end of January never having solo-directed a show before and having only just finished the Hercules production with Young Company and The Wardrobe Ensemble. It really felt like a new step in the right direction; gaining as much experience in different aspects of creating theatre and as many opportunities with Young Company as possible. 

We began our process through many ensemble building activities and inspiring ourselves by our stimulus: Kate Tempest’s spoken word album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’. The initial concept for the show (invented by creator Ben Frith), was to explore each character within Tempest’s creation and their individual struggles as well as wider societal issues through primarily dance pieces, musical elements, and heavy ensemble participation. We approached the devising process by listening to Tempest’s album and creating movement scenes inspired by the struggles her individual characters. While originally planning to take quite a literal inspiration from Tempest’s work, as ideas developed, we found more to build from delving into certain themes of her album and societal issues explored; sleep, isolation, and people being three key ones. 

Creative writing was a fundamental element of the process. An activity that hugely developed what we wanted this show to be was anonymously free-writing collectively created questions and statements into a form of creative literature: “In some ways, the more they meet the lonelier they feel”, “What is wrong with the world we live in?”. Choosing even simple fragments of the pieces we liked or resonated with was hugely beneficial when creating plans for scenes; along with making work as collectively as possible since I wanted the whole team of devisers to be creators and decision makers for the show. 

As we explored closely to the paths of our themes, the pieces we devised became more of an abstract view on people and how we cope. Many questions developed aiding us to identify the intention of a scene and what it did; considering “what is the difference between isolation and loneliness?” and “why is isolation deemed a bad thing?”. Having more of an abstract concept led us to create more based from personal experiences and explore what resonates with us. When exploring issue that can be sensitive yet commonly affecting, we felt the show really needed to be personal to us and in many ways an extension of ourselves. When identifying personal issues we related to, whether through experience or observation, something we began to play with were the coping mechanisms we use to confront them.

Insightfully enough, when admitting our individual coping methods, we found for a group of people with many similarities (age, interests, education), the ways we choose to try and cope with problems are incredibly different. For some it was baking, painting, hugging their dog, organising a routine, for others pretending they’re a miserable writer confined in their holiday cottage with a worn-out dressing gown and a mug of lemon water. 

How people cope, particularly from issues involving sleep, loneliness and stress built a story around what began as a mix of fragments. Along with this, while having a vast range of theatrical styles embedded in the piece (whether that be high intensity stylised movement or naturalism), the surrealist setting immerses the audience into a dream-like world of sleep vs. reality; enabling them to interpret our abstract style as it resonates personally, considering how and why it is that we cope.

You can catch Let Them Eat Chaos as part of Young Ferment, which hits the Weston Studio, Thu 25 – Sat 27 Apr. For more info and to book tickets, click here.