Between Zero and One - A chat with Murray Hickman
We had a chat with Murray Hickman about his upcoming show,
Between Zero and One
What is the concept of Between Zero and One? How
did the development of the show begin?
It started with a conversation between myself and John Psathas.
I had always wanted to ask him to write for us so after CNZ
gave us some funding it gave us a chance to make it happen as a
full length work rather than just one piece.
Initially John had talked about exploring the story of
percussion and music through the ages but he must have decided that
was way too small minded so decided to write about the beginning of
the universe instead…
The concept of the show is exploring what happens when the gods
turn their backs. As in, what would happen if the gods who
look after us took the day off, or left us to it for a while. It
starts with our gods present in the space, so the music is epic and
intense, then as the gods leave we explore what it means to be
human - to play, fight, feel, interact, love and with a bit of
chaos thrown in the mix. So we go from a gigantic, universal moment
to something that is quite personal and intimate, and back again.
That's what we are exploring, but it's not literal. The great
thing about music is that people can listen, feel and respond in
whatever way they like. I'd be keen to hear what people think after
the Christchurch premiere, about what stories the music unlocked in
Why do you think Christchurch is going to love this
We have been regular visitors to Christchurch over the years,
working in schools, with the NZ Army Band and at the Festival.
This show a real development for us as a group. The music is
technically demanding for us and some of it quite different from
what we have done before. We are adding a whole new element of AV
and interactivity and Christchurch is going to be the first
audience ever to experience this combo. But you don't need to
be a music expert to understand what we do - it's not because it's
simple, but because John is very clever with what he has written
and he is inspired by numerous musical forms from around the world
and from popular music.
Another thing is that we are bringing down nearly every
percussion instrument ever invented, and some that have been
invented especially for this show. We don't do things by
Tell me about how the show is being staged? Not just
musicians on stage?
Strike's whole plan since we first began in 1998 was to
challenge the 'rules' of ensemble playing (like you might see at a
gig or the orchestra), and in the past we've done that by placing
instruments in strange places, on the walls, from the ceiling, on
our own bodies and then kind of having to dance and move in order
to play them.
David Downes has written a piece for the show called 'Dog Eat
Dog' and that really challenges what music performance can be.
We've also added a whole new element of interactive triggering
and visuals- where we are working with an amazing AV artist called
Tim Gruchy to create visual content that interacts with our bodies
and the music. He is also a musician so it's amazing to see
how musical the AV design for us is.
Where do you want to take this show after
We're very lucky to premiere in Christchurch, after having some
an amazing and touching time last Festival working with Gareth
Farr's memorial for the earthquakes, The Nor'west Arch. We've
got plans for world domination with this show of course, but after
Christchurch we're starting with Nelson Festival in October.
A lot of Asian countries are interested in Strike because in
Asia there is a strong percussion tradition and we've taken our
last two shows to Taiwan at the International Percussion
Convention. The first time we went there no other percussion group
used amplified/sampled sound or theatrical lighting, so we ended up
making quite an impact. Other places in Asia, like Korea and
China looks likely too. We haven't played in Australia in a
while, so hopefully we can tour the show there.