Audiences are invited to witness a Hitchcock classic in the remaking at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) amidst the excitement of a camera crew, actors and a bunch of Janet Leigh wigs.
Originally released in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho thrilled audiences and enjoyed outstanding box office returns. Widely considered one of the earliest examples of the slasher genre, it is often ranked among the greatest films of all time.
Working with internationally-renowned performance company Imitating the Dog, 23 final-year Performing Arts students have turned the iconic horror film on its head in an unforgettable production called Psycho (Redux).
An edited 45-minute version of Psycho will play on a screen while students remake it shot-for-shot during an exhilarating live performance.
It requires four different cameras and multiple actors to recreate the infamous shower scene and more, treating audiences to an exclusive behind-the-scenes view while the remake plays on screens alongside the original.
Jill Cowley, Programme Leader for DMU’s Performing Arts, said: “This is our final-year students’ contribution to Glorious Collisions, an annual series of memorable events showcasing the glorious results when live and digital arts collide.
“Much like the focus of the final year of our programme, Psycho (Redux) centres around hypermediality and letting audiences in on how the magic happens. Students were required to get involved in both the production and performance side of things, giving them a rounded experience.”
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Student Ross Thomson, who has turned his hand to multiple roles on the production - including project manager, camera operator and playing one of the many Norman Bates parts - said: “It’s been a brilliant learning curve and coming up with tricks to cheat the eye has been lots of fun.
“For example, to simulate the night scene where Marion Crane is driving with rain falling on the windscreen, we’ve resorted to spraying water onto cling-film. The best thing is that the audience can see all these tricks going on, as well as the finished product on screen.”
Ross is no stranger to performing in front of an audience. As one half of the Ten29 Theatre Collective he recently performed at the prestigious Departure Lounge Check-In Festival at Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre.
He said: “This seems like the next progressive step, everything our course has lined us up for. It’s been such an adrenaline rush and a real glimpse into what the future might hold after graduation.”
For Louisa Pomfret the experience has led to an unexpected taste of stage management. She said: “It’s not a role I had ever considered before, but I’m really enjoying it.
“We’re the first-ever year group to attempt something this ambitious and we’re lucky to have had the budget to work so closely with a professional company like Imitating the Dog.
“We’ve learned so much on the tech side of things like using mixers, projectors and operating cameras. I don’t think we knew we were even capable of doing something like this!”
Fellow student Molly Daniel said: “The surprise element has been the best part so far – being thrown in the deep and developing new skills like graphic design, animation and so much more!
“We’ve also gone from a class of individuals with different strengths, weaknesses and aspirations, to working as a tight company for the same end goal. It took a while to get here, but it feels great.”
With much of Imitating the Dog’s professional touring work starting life as student projects, Associate Artist Marco Turcich said: “I’ve been impressed by the students at DMU. They have been really great to work with, both technically capable and very proactive.
“Setting them this nearly impossible task of recreating such an iconic film live has been a creative challenge for everyone. But it reflects the experimental nature of our company and how media has informed contemporary practice. We think more cinematically nowadays, even in theatrical terms.”
Psycho (Redux) is showing on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 May at DMU’s Campus Centre – book your free tickets online.
Posted on Friday 28th April 2017