The Old Vic

The Hairy Ape

The Old Vic The Cut, London , SE1 8NB, UK




This revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Expressionist masterpiece is a balletic, Agitprop trip – a feast for the senses. Written in 1922, The Hairy Ape tells the story of Yank, a labourer who revels in his status as the strongest stoker on a transatlantic liner. When Yank is called a ‘filthy beast’ by the overbred daughter of a steel merchant, he experiences an awakening of consciousness that leads him on a journey through the wealthy neighbourhoods and disenfranchised underbelly of New York society.

I’ve composed sound and music for this fascinating revival of The Hairy Ape, directed by Richard Jones. In this ninety minute piece, Bertie Carvel plays the troubled protagonist Yank. Set design is by Stewart Laing and lighting by Mimi Jordan Sherin. My soundscape makes extensive use of found sounds (collected from metal furniture, submarine gear, steam engines, vegetables, Charleston records and other sources). I’ve reworked this source material extensively to create the feel of the ship and 1920s New York. Much of it accompanies strange and exquisite choreography from Aletta Collins, which shows men at work in the stokehole, the upper class grotesques of New York and more.

17 October – 21 November 2015