The making of A Journey Round My Skull,
by Nick Walker, Writer and Olivia Winteringham, Performer and co-Artistic Director:
A Journey Round My Skull started as one story and finished as another. The title is taken from the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy’s account of the removal of his brain tumour during experimental surgery in the late twentieth century, and ends with an intoxicating but doomed relationship experienced by a neurosurgeon and her patient.
Along the way, the story has explored various different narrative forms – from a gig in a nightclub, to a spoken word lecture, to a story entirely subject to a misbehaving maKey maKey – but at heart it has always remained the pursuit about our relationship to those things, or those people, or those activities, which can take us to profound places but which might terrify us or ultimately destroy us.
We have been stunned by the bravery, determination, and humour of those who have undergone that most delicate and transgressive experience of brain surgery, and we’ve been wide-eyed at the skill and concentration of those surgeons courageous enough to commit to such intimate human interaction. This is not a documentary about brain surgery, it is the backdrop to a love story, but in both cases, to a lesser or greater degree, we need to take a deep breath before letting anyone into our heads, and we hope, for an hour, you are willing to let Julia into yours.
Binaural sound, by Iain Armstrong, Sound Designer:
The central section of the performance requires the audience to wear a pair of headphones in order to experience a recorded soundtrack that accompanies the onstage performer. Many of the sounds used during this sequence were recorded using a technique called binaural recording. This method of recording sounds uses two small microphones placed in, or near, the ear canals of a dummy head or real person. When recordings made in this manner are played back over headphones, the listener experiences a more convincing reproduction of the spatial location of the sounds than using a conventional stereo recording technique.
The audience also experience this recording method in real time as the performer delivers text to a dummy head fitted with microphones. We chose this method in order to more accurately and convincingly represent the environment and procedures of the operating theatre, whilst creating a very intimate experience for each individual audience member.
|Writers||Nick Walker and Olivia Winteringham|
|Lighting and Set Design||Ben Pacey|
|Sound Design||Iain Armstrong|
|Production Manager||Claire Browne|
|Stage Manager||Elizabeth Moran|
|Furniture Maker||Jamie Begg|
|Consultant Neurosurgeon||Mr. David Sandeman|
|Consultant Professor of Auditory Neuroscience||Professor David McAlpine|
|Consultant Anaesthetist||Dr. Kay Chidley|
In the production, we also use a ‘maKey-maKey‘, a device which allows anything to be turned into a key to cue sound.
More about the maKey-maKey HERE.
You can make your own Theatrical Neurosurgery by downloading our maKey maKey ‘How to…’