Roseacre

A Nordic Noir inspired thriller

2015

Roseacre

After a body is discovered at a demonstration a tangled web of deception is unearthed. Is anyone who they say they are and how far will they go to keep their secrets? Inspired by Nordic Noir thrillers such as The Killing and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Roseacre follows the story of an undercover police officer caught in a world of lies, betrayal and murder.

Using Square Peg Theatre’s distinct cinematic style, this stylish production blends beautifully choreographed physical theatre with a powerful character-driven story to create a visceral adventure into the heartland of our morality.

Roseacre premiered at Waterside Arts Centre July 15th — 18th 2015.

Research

The Scapegoat

In developing the ideas for Roseacre we began looking at how scapegoats have been used throughout history. Tradionally the concept began during religious ceremonies where by a priest would confess the communities sins onto the head of a goat. The goat was then cast out into the desert symbollically cleansing the village of it's vices. Over time the meaning has shifed. Today we create scapegoats as a way to blame someone else for our own problems, a process that often results in feelings of prejudice toward the person or group that one is blaming, while maintaining one's own positive self-image.

The key to creating an effective scapegoat is to find a person that is a balanced mix of insider and outsider. They must be an insider since the pretext behind the scarifice is that they are responsible for the internal problems of a group. However, they must also be enough of an outsider in order to avoid any recognition from the crowd that the scarificed was just like them, and therefore, next time may well be them!

This inside/outside conumdrum led us to the use of undercover police officers. The very nature of their job meant that they were both a scapegoat for community they had infultrated and a scapegoat for the police who could easily wash their hands of blame if something went wrong.

The Thin Blue Line

The use of undercover police officers gave us the opportunity to use the aesthetic of Nordic Noir crime dramas. The duplicity of the undercover officer gave a strong foundation for conflict and crucially tapped into the public zeitgeist. There had been several high profile court cases involving police offers in recent years. Stories of officers leading double lives, forming relationships with the very actitivists they were supposed to infiltrate, and even having children with them began to form the basis of our reserach.

However the most chilling revelation that came from our research was the notion that once you start spying on a group or individual it becomes incredibly difficult to stop. The piece of evidence that comprehensively proves their innocence doesn't exist. All that exists is an absence of guilt. You can't quit because you're forever one move away from the crucial evidence that will justify your cause.

Background

The Fall Guy

We originally conceived the idea of creating a Scandinavian-esque crime thriller in 2014 under the title The Fall Guy. We were commissioned by Leeds Library's WordPlay scheme to explore the idea over four-weeks in partnership with the Unity Theatre, Liverpool and a grant from the Peggy Ramsey Foundation. We were also joined by Joyce Henderson (associate artist for Complicite) who provided artistic mentorship throughout the devising process.

Cast

Alice HulmeEmma Romy Jones
John StephensDominic Myerscough
Vivienne AshcroftKatie Robinson
Ryan LomasMichael White

Creative Team

Written & Directed by:Michael White
Set & Costume Design by:Irene Jade
Sound Design by:Owen Rafferty
Production Images & Video by:Matt Jones
Promotional Images by:David Oates
Produced by:Dep Arts

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