Mr Different is a play with live music which premiered in nascent form at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2017, (where it was nominated for Best Small Music Ensemble), and is now being further developed for online streaming in 2021.
Set on an industrial estate in a northern town, a cut-through from the suburban housing estates to the town centre where all the evening entertainment takes place, we find a trio playing vaguely Latin music and hoping to pick up small change from the partygoers as they make their way home.
A large laundry bag centre stage contains a disturbed character, nearly naked except for an A&E gown. He has a white face painted as a Pierrot and his hair tied up as might befit a mental patient in Victorian asylums.
Apparitions appear around him with whom Mr Different engages in conversation. Some are merry makers, some are pursuing their own course through the night and some are officialdom.
It is clear that Mr Different is not in the same place as everyone else.
The original concept was to find a way to showcase songs, that didn't involve a verbal introduction followed by a song, followed by another introduction and another song. By writing a story, Egriega hoped to attract a new audience.
Gradually, by adding songs that fitted the initial idea, the character of Mr Different took shape.
We came up with the idea of a laundry bag, still holding the possibility of a stag prank, and also referenced ‘Harvey’, the play and James Stewart film about a man talking to an invisible rabbit.
Thereafter, the idea emerged of a chance to comment on modern society and the ultimate possibility that Mr Different might somehow exist in a limbo between life and death. However dark that might all sound, we wanted to retain a degree of humour. We thought of Samuel Beckett and men in dustbins or characters who were waiting for someone but didn't know who.
The final piece of the jigsaw in the first version of the show, was the song 'I See You'. When originally conceived it was unconnected to the show but we sensed that a song about someone driving his car without thought for others would fit the script very well. A reviewer, Graham Jowett, pointed out that 'I See You' was also the acronym for ICU or intensive care unit. Suddenly the piece had a direction.
After its Buxton Fringe premiere, and with encouragement from several audience members, reviewers and most importantly, director Craig Sanders, it was decided that with the help of additional funding from Arts Council England, the piece could be further developed and expanded to perform at theatres.
In 2019 we were awarded a Research and Development grant by Arts Council England to develop the stage design and dramaturgy, and undertake several workshops to get audience reaction, working with a local university drama department.
We are now working towards the online streaming of Mr Different in 2021 - dates TBA.
Pieter Egriega (Writer and Performer) is an experienced composer and musician with a long career on the periphery of the Manchester music scene. Recent works have received several nominations for music and new writing at Buxton Fringe and in 2016, he won the award for best ensemble. In 2013 he suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke leaving him with no movement in his right arm and leg. In 2014 Pieter won the National Award for Creative Arts Stroke Association in recognition of his music, art and book documenting his recovery. In 2016, The World Stroke Organisation used his instrumental music ‘Clouds’ to showpiece artwork and Pieter became BBC Artist of the week. In 70s and early 80s Pieter performing as Arthur Kadmon was considered one of the pioneers of New Wave Music forming the band Ludus and playing in The Fall, Manicured Noise and The Distractions.
Richard Ross (Director)
Richard began his professional directing career in 1998 with a touring production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has developed productions and tours for theatres in Manchester (Tameside Hippodrome, Green Room, Hope Mill Theatre) and across the North West - often reimagining established productions for non-theatrical venues. He has also run a theatrical school and delivered theatre-based projects for youth initiatives. His focus is on keeping theatre a creative space, which can take risks, rather than sticking to tried and expected tropes. Recent work includes The Last 5 Years at the King’s Arms in Salford and Into the Woods at Footlights House in Media City.
Charles Ormrod (Musical Director) is a piano teacher and jobbing musician. After playing with a few different jazz bands whilst at school, Charles formed his own Jazz Quartet, T.A.C.T. whilst at university, where he met and worked with other aspiring musicians from around the world. Since then he has been performing solo and with bands for corporate functions, bars, weddings, and parties. He has worked on live and recorded projects for dozens of bands and musicians. He was initially engaged as a musician on Mr Different and has subsequently worked on other Fringe shows with Pieter, including Frank Sinistra:Sex Drugs and PR and the Buxton Fringe award-winning '11 Reasons'. a photo romance with live jazz trio..
Writer and performer