‘there are snakes’ at osbtt week

simple8 News, Production Diary

For the last few weeks, we at simple8 have been hard at work on developing a new piece of work for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award. We were selected as one of 12 finalists and asked to perform a short excerpt from our proposed work: a piece based on ‘Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes’ by Daniel Everett. This is a book detailing Everett’s own experiences as a Christian missionary attempting to learn the arcane language of the Piraha, deep in the Amazonian jungle.

It’s been a both challenging and rewarding process and we’re incredibly grateful to the OSBTT whether we win the award or not as it was a great help to be given the financial backing to spend some proper time on the project which has both intrigued and intimidated us for a while. If you’re not familiar with the book we can’t recommend it enough as it’s absolutely fascinating, but it will also give you some idea of the trepidation we are facing trying to dramatise it.

The difficulty of the material made it all the more satisfying to piece together something even remotely presentable in the space of a week. Audience reaction seemed really encouraging and it has shown us that the project has legs, which means that whatever happens with OSBTT, the week has been hugely worthwhile and hopefully, one way or another, you’ll see the results of our labour in the future.

Even more exciting is that our research and development process is now taking a very definite shape meaning we are cementing a working method with which we can approach a great variety of source material for future projects.