Paper Moon’s latest production, an immersive theatre experience called Cut, Paste, Enter. Took at Modern Art Oxford. Ahead of their opening, Cherwell spoke to Chloe Dootson-Graube (Creative Director), Georgie Dettmer (Director), Grace Olusola (Writer), and Hannah Gallardo-Parsons (Sound Designer) about putting together this exciting new project.
How did the idea for this project first come about?
Georgie: “Chloe and I had worked on Paper Moon’s previous project ‘Spoon River Anthology’ together and we began talking about different ways to bring visual art into performance. From then on we began discussing Chloe’s work, her ideas about TVs, rhinos, and how much we loved Grace Olusola’s writing. I had recently heard about binaural sound and had also recently bumped into the best sound designer (Hannah Gallardo-Parsons) and so it all came together. A few zoom calls later and ‘Cut, Paste, Enter.’ was born!”
Chloe: “As for me, I’ve always been interested in dystopia, and more and more, trying to set up any kind of design based projects in Oxford was beginning to feel more dystopic, so I really wanted to push the boundaries of what you can do in an Oxford theatre space, and give more of a voice to the design team in so doing.”
Grace: “In terms of the writing, the idea for the narrative came from conversations we had about the type of story that could do the experiential nature of the show the most justice. What gives enough room to really let us be creative with sound? Or gives enough for the artist to respond to? We started thinking about the theme of dystopia and I remembered studying documentary as part of my A levels film studies course. In those classes, we spoke about the role of the editor and I was baffled by how powerful, yet silent the editor is. It seemed to link well to the dystopian idea, and the rest kind of came from there!”
How did you find the collaboration of the project?
Chloe: “I think the wonderful thing about collaboration is that everyone truly has a say in every decision made – Grace and I discussed the idea we had extensively before she started writing, and I would contribute what I thought would be good artistically and what she thought would make for dynamic writing.”
Grace: “It’s been really fruitful. Writing with both sound and visuals in mind gave me boundaries that in some ways actually expanded the realms of what I could imagine for the script. Writing with collaboration in mind meant that the script almost felt bigger than itself!”
Hannah: “Yeah, I found that clever collaboration process incredibly open. No one had any big egos, we’re on the same level. And that was that was a truly a truly lovely feeling.”
How did bringing in actors affect this project?
Grace: “They are all so amazing! They have really brought the characters to life, in ways I didn’t even imagine or think about when writing them. At the audition stage, I recommended to Georgie, our wonderful director, that diversity in voices (pitch, accent, inflections) was quite important for the audio elements of the production, and it’s been so great to see how everyone has brought something quite special to their character – especially as there are so many of them!”
Georgie: “Hearing the cast bring so many different interpretations to the script in such a short amount of time just proved (again and again) how talented people are here. Bringing actors into the room forces you to consider the script from new perspectives as well which is refreshing and challenging and exactly what you need when making a production.”
What was your favourite part of the process?
Chloe: “Working with such incredible people and having the space to do something that feels really fresh and free from an artistic standpoint.”
Grace: “It would probably be the first time I heard an early demo, during the recording process. It was the first time I had seen how the script had been interpreted, and there is no joy like knowing that your creativity has inspired creativity in others. This unique theatrical process especially has bred the loveliest ripple effect!”
Hannah: “Building this world together. It’s nice to have a truly collaborative project.”
Image: Chloe Dootson-Graube