James Hissett is a Film-Maker and Performer based in Leicester.
Tin Can People are a theatre & performance company based in Preston.
JH: I’m sitting in a large and very quiet room at the moment trying to turn the 25 minutes of show I’m happy with into 45 minutes that hopefully, no one will hate. How are you getting on with The Freak Show and what can we expect to see from this Crystal Vision person?
TCP: We are also sitting in a large room below a temperature we would deem as fit for work, but it’s okay, we have good coffee. The Freak Show has taken us to a lot of freaky places, including Blackpool Pleasure Beach and an inspiring visit to a clairvoyant. In our developed 45 minutes we aim to take our audience on a journey through this materialistic world. Essentially we aim to bring the audience into a personal clairvoyant session and offer them a new faith, in which they can believe in the moon and the possibility of not having any control over their futures. Crystal Vision is a glittery white witch who predicts the extravagant, the mundane and the world disasters that will happen in the future.
JH: Wowza. What a treat! Although I find the idea of visiting a clairvoyant super terrifying. I think it’s because I’m in blissful ignorance of “the Unknown” and do not want that ignorance challenged, can you promise you won’t tell me really specific details about my childhood or pass me messages from a dead relative? I mean I can live with that but I’ll be really pissed off if you change my perception of everything.
TCP: Crystal Vision doesn’t contact spirits, she looks to the moon and predicts the mundane and the mad, for example as you read this, a cow will be mooing…
So James, we have never had the pleasure of seeing the 25 minute version of ‘Sad Looking Chair’ so maybe you could introduce us to your piece? I mean why do you hate your ex-girlfriends? Is it real hatred or is it oppressed by this ‘lad culture’ you speak of? For example, would you still hate your ex-girlfriend if the world was to end tomorrow? (Deep, we know).
JH: No, you have it all wrong! I don’t hate my ex girlfriends…. I hate their new boyfriends. They just seem like awful people. Judging on the information I have, which is the photographs I can click through on Facebook.
‘Sad Looking Chair’ is kind of a diary of my life between 2007 and 2014, and various relationships and moments which occurred in that time. I’m a film-maker before I’m a performer, so the show switches between short films I’ve made and live storytelling.
The kind of feel I wanted was that of a late night chat with an old friend, probably in a bar you went to underage and now just go out of loyalty, even though you know there are better places and you’re telling him about some shit that went down in your twenties and what impact you think that’s had on you generally and he’s all like, “Oh shit I never realised but I can totally relate to that feeling”…
What was the last show you saw that really “stayed with you”?
TCP: That makes sense – we are intrigued to know how much you got up to in seven years.
Okay so we watch a lot of theatre (next up we are seeing Sleepwalk Collective). Rob has chosen Igor and Moreno ‘Idiot Syncrasy’, which we saw at Edinburgh Fringe 2015. He describes it as two tectonic plates colliding simultaneously; very amusing and very beautiful.
Charlotte has chosen ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ by Jonny Donahoe & Paines Plough. It was beautiful, heart-warming and very reassuring. We saw this last month at The Continental in Preston.
What have you seen lately? And what encouraged you to create ‘Sad Looking Chair’?
JH: That sounds utterly delightful. I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for anything that can be compared to tectonic plates colliding.
I think the show that’s had the most lasting effect on me was probably ‘Paradise Lost’ by Ben Duke. In a sentence, it’s a one man Lo-Fi retelling of God creating the universe, intertwined with stories of himself coming to terms with fatherhood. And there’s dance in it too. It’s really impressive.
I think Sad Looking Chair’s main influence was Mike Birbiglia’s ‘My Girlfriends’ Boyfriend’. I’m pretty sure its still on Netflix. It perfectly plays the balance between comedy and sadness, and that’s a space I want things I make to exist in. Start funny – end sad. That’s the formula, and mission statement.
Is there a guiding principle that ties your work together? A mission statement?
TCP: Yes. Our mission statement is – Find the calm within the storm. The storm is the ever fast-paced world in which we live in, a 21st century that is quite literally a freak show. We want to offer the audience an opportunity to find their place within the freak show.
Both of these shows are part of Tetrad Present Them – a double bill showcasing developed work from Tetrads work in progress night Us and Them – on Thursday 20th October at Attenborough Arts Centre.
Thursday 20th October 2016
Attenborough Arts Centre
Sad Looking Chair – 7pm
Freakshow ft. Crystal Vision – 8.30pm