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A Dead Puppet Society production, written by David Morton. Ishmael will be performed as part of Brisfest 2021.

Ishmael is the latest work by the internationally acclaimed Dead Puppet Society who lend their trademark theatre magic to Herman Melville’s beloved classic, Moby Dick.

In this reimagined contemporary space saga, Ishmael recasts earth’s no-longer-vast oceans with the immensity of the universe, and the endless possibilities and terrors it holds.

Melding live filmmaking with miniature sets, puppetry and music by Bec Sandridge, Xavier Dunn and Dave Jenkins Jnr, Ishmael tells a captivating story about individual hope and collective redemption.


Composer Bec Sandridge talks about her work on 'Ishmael'.

How does it feel to be at the helm of the music for this show?!
I feel so lucky and honoured to have been asked to steer the ship of music in the world of 'Ishmael'! It’s such a beautiful production and it has been really fun writing not about my own feelings for a change.

Who do you think this show is for?
One thing that I love about 'Ishmael' is that most probably anyone could enjoy this production. Kids would love the aspects of space and wonder and there are greater, weightier themes of time and loss and climate change which adults can sink their teeth into also.

What sorts of things have you taken into consideration putting the music together?
A lot of the music has been informed by specific textures. For example, sometimes I wanted the space to feel claustrophobic or like time is running out, so we used compressors which felt like a vacuum and other times the expansiveness of space was mirrored by exactly that, minimal instruments and just voice and piano. I really wanted the songs to feel very specific in location so listeners could almost feel the air and earth that Ishmael herself walks in and on.

Where does composing music for a show like this begin?
I literally bought a copy of 'Moby Dick' to begin with. . . It was a good starting point.

What has been the biggest challenge?
I’ve had to learn how to produce a lot more. I’m no engineer by any means, but I literally bought my first copy of Ableton to start this project and watched endless hours of (sadly) old dudes on YouTube, mansplaining how to quantise midi instruments and record decent vocals. It was a little painful but a useful skill! Also, working remotely (with all the team living/working on the production in Queensland) has been a little difficult but a fun challenge.

On the flip side of that, what about the biggest reward?
Proving to myself that I could write an entire score!

Have you ever done anything like this before?
Never, it’s been bonkers.

Do you think you’d be up for composing music for a stage show again?
I would love to. It’s on my bucket list. That and also a film score. . .

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