Imagine the humidity, the dense soil beneath your feet, the lush canopy above that lets the sun’s light peak through in shards that dazzle; imagine the cries of macaws and apes and insects; and imagine pushing through the foliage to encounter a person who you’ve never seen before and who’s never seen you. Or anyone like you. That’s first contact.
Imagine the tube, the traffic and the commuters, the drone of buses, the checking of directions on your phone; imagine pushing open the door to the rehearsal room to encounter your fellow cast mates who you might have seen before in a show and maybe they know a friend of yours… It’s a sort of first contact. It’s not as unique as proper first contact but it’s a hint we can take to imagine the real thing.
It’s the first day of rehearsal and people are meeting for the first time.
Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes is set in the Amazon. It’s the true story of a missionary and linguist sent to convert a tribe whose language no one had ever learnt. And as he immerses himself in their language and culture he discovers things about them that have devastating consequences.
We’re thrilled to have assembled a talented ensemble: Dan, the linguist and missionary, is played by Mark Arends, who starred in the Almeida’s recent production of 1984. He’s joined by a Japanese actress called Yuriri Naka, Clifford Samuel, who for the last year has been touring in the critically acclaimed David Greig play The Events and an American actress called Rachel Handshaw. The cast is completed by founding simple8 members Christopher Doyle and Emily Pennant Rea.
From their first contact with each other they’re going to spend nine weeks together working out how to represent a tribe few have ever met and how to speak a language few have ever spoken. Like an Amazonian explorer it should be exciting, foolhardy, fun and challenging. The results can be seen pretty soon with a ticket offer for the first week – £15 available for every performance up to Easter when you quote “SIMPLE8”. We hope to see you there, first encounter or not.