Come Bargain With Uncanny Things (Show Pitch)
“an original, atmospheric, immersive role-play opera with real promise.” ★★★★
Work in Progress sharing at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2021
Britten Pears Creative Retreat (2 week residency), 2022
Supported by Parabolic Theatre and Colab Theatre
An interactive, immersive opera in which you come and bargain with uncanny things.
Praise for previous interactive immersive opera, We Sing/I Sang:
“experimental, challenging, innovative work.” ★★★★
“an elemental and intuitive experience… a truly affecting performance”
Invited to Talos Science Fiction Theatre Festival, Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2020, and Knaïve Theatre’s Digital Lyceum, reaching hundreds of people.
Praise for other work by writer/director Leo Doulton:
"Punchy, effective staging"
- Opera Magazine, The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken
"The kind of experimental project that really could reach new audiences and communities... a strange, slow-burn, potential sleeper hit of a show." - Opera Magazine
"Every decision has an effect on the script: all praise to the cast who react in real time..." - NoProscenium
“the best time I've had in YEARS at an interactive show... easy to follow but incredibly reactive” ★★★★★ - Tom Black, co-creator, Crisis? What Crisis?
Combining opera’s beautiful music with improvisatory ritual-music traditions from around the world and interactive, immersive game-based theatre, Come Bargain With Uncanny Things places the audience in a world where supernatural creatures are bound to help resolve community challenges. They discuss their priorities, research rituals, and decide what to ask the creature to do - find a missing child, or ease an old woman’s pain? Bully the creature, or bribe it? The audience can choose to do anything; the singers (as the creature and specialist Bargainers) collaboratively improvise music & plot shaped by the audience’s choices.
They will find themselves mastering ancient rituals, composing powerful invocations, making offerings, and above all trying to negotiate with the powerful and strange Uncanny Thing.
It is (artistically) an exploration of how we relate to our community and wider world and (practically) a chance to feel like you're doing magic, which is really fun.
Below, you can find a gallery of production shots and a film from our work in progress sharing.
If you don't have time to watch the whole film, start at 54:24 to see an important part of the show: the audience voting on what to do next by humming (from options based on their previous choices).
Then skip to 57:07, when the audience have created an offering to the Uncanny Thing, to see how unexpected audience choices can be, and hear some of the music. I promise, we did not remotely expect what they did, but hope it shows how invested the in-person audience felt.
Narrative context: having saved a local teacher who had gone missing, the audience owed a favour to the black-clad bargainer Mars. Mars asked to either experience life as an Uncanny Thing, or to free the creature bound in the middle of the room. Graham, the other bargainer, warns that it is dangerous.
"A very serious attempt to conquer the comic opera genre."
- The Wee Review, The Perfect Opera