Clockheart Boy: “a very human story, just set in a fantastical realm…”| TOM meets co-creator of Clockheart Boy, Dumbshow’s Nicola Cutcher, ahead of their performance and workshop this half term on 01 November.
// Nicola, you describe Clockheart Boy as an ‘original fairytale’. Where did the show come from, and what makes it magical?
Years ago, our writer Sam Gayton and I came up with Clockheart Boy while at university. We didn’t set out to create a fairy tale, though. We had been reading some short stories by Tim Burton (‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’) and wanted to create a character with our own quirks. Through a devising process we asked “what if a boy had a clock for a heart?” and developed a character. Hence, Clockheart Boy! Then we worked outwards, imagining his creator, The Professor. The story is about about this professor losing his daughter. It has become a very human story, just set in a fantastical realm.
// So this isn’t just a fun, colourful show, there’s depth to it?
Definitely. At its core the story is about a professor who’s lost his daughter. He goes on an emotional journey, but he also happens to be living in a castle with a weird group of his own creations! We sometimes say it’s about grief, but it’s really a celebration of life, living life to the fullest and making the most of the people around you, whoever they may be.
// What’s your favourite thing that audiences say about the show?
So many things! It’s always such a privilege to hear. An old couple saw it in Edinburgh; they cried, and told us that it had really make them think. Someone else came out of the show and declared that they were going to look for love, and look in places they had never looked before. Children are often very concerned about the Professor’s missing daughter, and ask us where she went. They generally ask lots and lots of questions. Some children have gone home and looked for the daughter in their wardrobes!
// What is the difference between watching a live fairy tale and one on film or TV?
We believe in the theatre. This show is different every performance. We interact with the audience, not too much, but just enough to invite them into the world in a way that film can’t. There’s a scene where Clockheart Boy starts throwing cake mix at my character (the cook), and every night I’m taken by surprise by the way he does it. As a company, we play little games on stage that keep us fresh, and it keeps the experience exciting for audiences too.
// You’re also doing a workshop alongside the show, what will that involve?
It’s called ‘Playing Dumb’, and is a chance for people to explore the show more. We invite young people to explore how we made the show, starting with the premise “if you had a superpower, what would it be?” All sorts of characters have emerged, from the character ‘springs’ who could jump really high, to ‘wheels’ the roller-skating extraordinaire. The kids have an idea and can really explore that physically, but they also explore personality, and what kind of a person that physicality would make you. It’s a fun physical workshop and a chance to enjoy another experience with us as a company.
Thanks Nicola, and all the best with the show.
// Clockheart Boy
Thursday 01 November | 11:30 & 15:00
Details & Bookings: http://www.theoldmarket.com/clockheart-boy
// PLAYING DUMB WORKSHOP
Thursday 01 November | 13:15 – 14:15 | £4.00
Details & Bookings: theoldmarket.com/playing-dumb-workshop