Scène de fantasmagorie XVIIIe siècle
Four days ago, FoolishPeople made perhaps our most important announcement to date, the production of our first feature film, Strange Factories.
It can seem almost futile to focus on the act of storymaking in the face of the changes and disasters we’re experiencing across the globe, but the fact is that stories are more important and vital than they have ever been to our species. We will need our stories to come to terms with our triumphs and failures. Hopefully we’ll find a way to use the source material to reimagine and recreate the world.
I’d like to give you some background on what has been a long journey to Strange Factories, from my perspective.
Over the last four years I’ve written four prospective FP screenplays: GraveLand, Citizen Y, Parallaxis and finally Strange Factories.
This emphasises how important the filmmaking process is to me personally as an artist. I’m painfully aware that capturing what we do on film was never going to be easy and that a straight recording of an FP event would never be right.
In case you haven't worked with us or been a spectator at one of our productions, I should explain our working practice a little. All FP projects start as a script. This is a very particular narrative beast, told via multiple threads and living characters that allow the story to spread and weave throughout a venue to create a complete cycle of the story. We often perform a cycle from two to four times to allow the audience enough time inside the narrative to construct their own reality and experience of the complete story. This is one of the reasons why our working practice is called Theatre of Manifestation.
Stories manifest in the space.
I always knew it would take time to adapt the immersive nature of FoolishPeople’s live art to a motion picture. It was crucial to maintain the direct connection we share with our audience via immersion in the ritual space, this is the most important aspect of our work.
Our first film had to take this unique connection we share with our audience whilst also remaining true to the transcendental nature of cinema so we could attempt to utilise and merge the two to create a numinous experience.
After four years of hard work and an uphill struggle I think I’ve finally found the right frequency of narrative.
Strange Factories is a fable that explores how stories manifest and become part of us, transferring down from generation to generation through the stages of gossip, news, superstition, folklore and myth.
Partly constructed from the history and myths of FP, the screenplay travels through the fictional nature of how we experience our own rituals to create our own myths and folktales. The personal experiences that members of FP have had deep within the process of creation are the very cogs and gears of this narrative.
Strange Factories is also a story that will enable us to create the active space at its heart for our audience to inhabit. They will engage with us on a journey that explores the stages of the relationship between spectator and performer. From passive voyeurs to active revolutionary within the narrative, directly affected in the final act.
One of the reasons that the same fables are repeated and that new tales don’t come into being more often is that there’s always a price to be paid to the current of the story you are communicating with. The energy and effort the work requires in creation and its importance/value to the narrative of the writer is a very direct relationship. This equation is the true nature of how stories effect change in the lives of the people who directly experience them.
We intuitively feel and know in our bones when sacrifices have been made for a story to be built and told. We see it through the shroud of our own experiences, in the pain and beauty within our lives.
A huge part of our existence is spent in the simple but beautiful act of communicating to others the stories from the years of our lives. We all know and understand that each day is spent bringing our stories into existence. We feel the supporting characters of our lives at our very core.
The realm of story is how we feel each other outside of time.
Collaboration will continue to be a huge part of our artistic process. We start with a core creative team that is talented, committed and second to none.
Having worked in different projects with Richard Webb over the past 3 years, I’m proud to have him as a co-director and know he will help convey the phantasmagoric visions of Strange Factories, he will ensure we travel in new and beautiful directions.
Lucy Harrigan, Tereza Kamenicka and Xanadu Xero will all be helping me to bring the film to fruition, producing in different areas. Their combined skills will be invaluable as we embark on our biggest challenge to date.
Artists Bettina Fung and P. Emerson Williams will be heavily involved with the concept art, production design and post production, bringing the screenplay to life.
Rachael Blyth, writer and performer will be using FoolishPeople.com to share all our experiences of Strange Factories with you, alongside Lucy and myself so you can follow the journey every step of the way.
We released the initial announcement and casting call on Friday, and have had an incredible response and feedback so far. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who reposted our initial release, and also to everyone who applied, we’ll be in contact soon.
We’ll be announcing additions to the team in the coming weeks, and for those interested in collaboration, we are still considering applications and submissions for various roles in cast and crew. Just e-mail us at: email@example.com
I’m looking forward to you joining us for a long and haunted journey.