‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ is a poetic journey about a young man working out how to live his life, moving forwards from the loss of his best friend towards romantic and platonic relationships, and how they fit into his new adult world. The story interweaves his many different relationships, including comic book heroes and the character voices of his equipment, which he depends on to guide his journey and discover who, or what, he really loves.
The show was funded through a research and development phase by the Arts Council England in 2017, then funded again by ACE for a production week in 2019 at Lighthouse Poole with support from Extraordinary Bodies, Diverse City and the Arts Development Company. ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ debuted at Salisbury Playhouse in February 2019 for Fest West, written, directed and performed by The Shouting Mute with a handpicked creative team of performers, set and sound designers, creative enablers and advisors, including Daryl Beeton, Jonny Fluffypunk and Rosie Russell.
The Shouting Mute was then approached by Lighthouse Poole for a second performance in April 2019, and discussions are underway for Lab programming at TR2 (Theatre Royal Plymouth). If you would like to book a performance of the show at your venue, or get involved in any way, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Research and Development Phase – November 2017
With an award from Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts and supported by Diverse City and Lighthouse Poole, ‘Grow up and Just Love Chocolate’ undertook a period of research and development in November 2017 with the aim of exploring how poetry could be performed in different creative ways. The Shouting Mute aims to promote communication through poetry and creativity. By merging art forms, poetry becomes more accessible and appealing to a wider audience.
Through exploring the concept of how many voices an artist may have, The Shouting Mute, who has to use a computerised voice to speak, wanted to use different mediums to create a visual language to support his monotone electronic voice and the poetry he writes. By using movement, performance, puppetry, film and music, different styles of ‘voices’ were created to explore the relationships we have in the world.
During the research and development period, The Shouting Mute initially explored actors taking over his voice and performing his poetry using different accents and vocal ranges to bring a new voice to his words. But by taking out his electronic voice completely, the performance lost an aspect of his unique voice and it became difficult to see his world. So he reintroduced his voice and performance alongside that of performers to create a dialogue within his poetry.
This mix of electronic voice , physical voice and visual voices created colour, energy and vibrancy, enabling a deeper meaning and emotion to be conveyed within the work. Relationships within our daily lives were explored resulting in a narrative that took the audience on the journey of what its like growing up and suddenly finding yourself as an adult.
‘Grow up and Just Love Chocolate’ uses a variety of techniques to express and explore the human voice. As a poet The Shouting Mute uses an alternative communication device, which allows him to question and challenge his audience about who’s voice they imagine when they hear the emotionless robotic voice of his communication device. What emotions and feelings can be conveyed in monotone?
‘Grow up and Just Love Chocolate’ uses the voices of live actors, film, music, and movement to explore our relationships with the people and the things around us to ask what voice we have in these relationships? Can a female voice be in a males mind? How many voices does a mind have? And what is your true voice?
The Next Step
After the success of the research and development period, and the feedback from the invited audience of a ‘work in progress’, The Shouting Mute has now developed the show in to a touring production with the aim to build partnerships with key venues across the South West region and London. The Shouting Mute hopes to develop the artistic content further, and create a touring infrastructure, which will allow the production to tour widely in the hope that this unique point of view has the widest possible reach.