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EIF Preview: Gulliver’s Travels – Creating the Soundscape

In 2009, a Romanian theatre troupe brought their production of Faust to the Edinburgh International Festival, and astonished audiences with a spectacular take on Goethe’s enduring fable, both epic and Brechtian in its treatment of the tale. This year, the same troupe – The National Theatre of Sibiu – return to the EIF with an interpretation of another literary giant – Gulliver’s Travels.

Directed by the Silviu Purcărete, who also helmed Faust (the most jaw-dropping theatre production The Red Curtain has seen, complete with fibreglass rhinoceros’, flame-jugglers, and pig-fornicators), the production promises to share a similarly absurdist attitude to its subject matter, proclaiming to be inspired by Jonathan Swift’s legendary satire rather than a literal representation of it. Although it will differ from Faust in terms of scale – Faust was staged in the cavernous Lowland Art Space in Ingliston, with audiences shepherded hither and yon throughout the show, whilst Gulliver will play at the considerably smaller (and recently refurbished) King’s Theatre in Edinburgh – there is every reason to expect the same audacious set and prop design, outlandish sensibility, and innovative use of music.

The Red Curtain interviewed Irish composer Shaun Davey – who works in both film and theatre – to investigate the process through which he devised Gulliver’s original score. His responses suggest the show will be up to Purcărete’s usual ambitious standards:

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