Stefan Gregory in Symphony.
Stefan Gregory in Symphony.

A Symphony on electric guitar closes NORPA's 2012 season

THE Legs On The Wall theatre company approaches show day for the premiere of Symphony, Stefan Gregory is working on the fourth movement.

With four days before the first performance, you might think they are cutting it fine.

"That's to be expected," Gregory says from the Lismore City Hall. "It's the same as anything you need to get done. You need two things; a plan and not enough time.

"The whole thing is there and now it's just a matter of watching all the pieces fall into place."

Symphony, directed by Patrick Nolan, is a collaboration between Gregory and his re-imagining of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, the physical performance and video, highlighting the connection of the three mediums.

While scoring a theatre production is normally quite fluid for Gregory, working with Beethoven, which the production is formed around, makes it difficult to be malleable.

"I change things. I have to have a good reason to change them," Gregory says.

"So I'm a bit more resistant than usual and a bit trickier to work with than I normally am. Normally I'd be moving bits and cutting bits of the music but if I did that now it makes it too different to Beethoven's work."

Paring down a symphony written for an orchestra into a solo work on guitar sounds like a big process, and it is.

"It involves a lot of things," he says. "Both technical and esthetic to convert those parts to one guitar is quite a process.

"I took many different approaches ... focusing on melody and harmonic parts of it or just the second violin part, the small melodies. The idea is that you can hear the whole from the single parts.

"My version is very different from the original. But people who are familiar with the original should still be able to follow where we are.

"It's a matter of finding the sounds that work on the electric guitar. It sounds interesting and beautiful, I hope."

Performers Matt Cornell, Dean Cross, Amy Macpherson and Rhiannon Spratling join Gregory on stage while the production is developed further by video artist Andrew Wholley's imagery.

Symphony: A Legs On The Wall production at Lismore City Hall tomorrow and Saturday, 7.30pm. Tickets $37/30/16.50, or on phone 1300 066 772.

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