Women On The Verge

Darragh Cullen on writing the soundtrack for a new production of Little Women, coming to The Whale.

When myself and Sinead McConville were approached to write music for this production of Little Women, our first thought was excitement – and our second was blind panic.

Panic at the idea of living up to this classic piece of work.

A daunting task, but one that, once our nerves turned back to 11, we were very much looking forward to facing.

The first thing we do when scoring a show is to set ourselves a set of limitations, a framework to live within. A previous example would be last year’s Arclight Production of Macbeth, wherein I limited myself to writing the whole thing using one guitar, one loop pedal and one drum.

On this production of Little Women, we tasked ourselves with using only orchestral sounds. Having that framework gives the whole score a nice through line and a clear vision.

Writing music for a classic text can be daunting, especially as so many great composers have given their take on this story already (a most recent example being Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score for Greta Gerwig’s great adaptation in 2019), but a classic text is a classic text for a reason; it tells a great story with great characters, and having great characters to write music for is always an incredible privilege.

So, as daunting as it was to take on Little Women, it was also one of our most rewarding musical experiences too…

Arclight Theatre Company’s production of Little Women is at The Whale from Friday, November 10th to Sunday 12th – register  here for return tickets: https://whaletheatre.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/873637426

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