From about the age of 11 onwards I was obsessed with music. I developed all the usual symptoms: buying too many records, taping songs from the radio, learning the guitar. I progressed along the well trodden path of buying albums rather than singles - spending hours in record shops flicking through vinyl with fellow obsessives - going to gigs, following obscure paths to new music, and playing in a band. The music I listened to between the ages of 11 and 21 probably had more effect on me than pretty much anything else: it affected how I dressed, how I spoke, and who I was friends with; it led me to books, films, and artists I might never have discovered otherwise. For better and worse, it made me what I am today.
Lost in Music is an attempt to explore the power of music to do this. It began when several separate strands of thought were drawn together. In 2014, I directed a production of the verbatim musical London Road in Bristol. The form - in which verbatim dialogue is set to music that very precisely reproduces its original pitch, rhythm and intonation - intrigued me because of the way that the text was simultaneously prosaic and heightened. I began to think about how else this form could be developed. At some point around the same time, my son (then aged 9) asked when I was going to make something that he could come and see (by which he meant, of course, one that he would be interested in coming to see). Over the next couple of years, I noticed that he was beginning to relate to music in a different way: developing his own taste, rejecting the music he had previously listened to and actively seeking out new genres. I also had an idea of making a show with a group of musicians in a space full of instruments (inspired by a second-hand music shop in Glasgow which had instruments and amps piled high). Somewhere in the soup of my brain, these things began to draw together. How about a show with live music for teenagers in which teenagers talk about music? Shows develop in strange ways and rarely end up where you first expect them to: in the two and a half years since I began actively working on Lost in Music with composer Kim Moore, the original ideas have evolved into something I couldn’t have conceived of initially. The voices of teenagers talking about music are still there and are still central to the show. They’re not set to music as I had originally thought, but they are still part of the music. The thread that holds everything together is the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice - a primal myth about the power of music as well as the danger of looking back. Lost in Music celebrates music and its unceasing power to move us, connect us and take us to places we never expected to go.