Charlie Hammond

Brain Worms

Combining previous ideas for shows and smooshing them together into one arty disaster, Charlie and Jasmine have conceived a new piece of work to develop - Brain Worms. A show about the things that can get into your head, as well as the THINGS that can get into your head.

“Everything’s become infested by worms. Charlie has built a coat out of them. Jazz is overrun and starting to think he might be a worm himself. There’s worms on the internet, worms starting quasi-political movements, and worms in everyone’s brains.

Meanwhile, Charlie and Jazz are plagued by replicas of each other. Puppets, chatbots and voodoo dolls left to their own devices for too long are now intent on taking control. Even if it means removing the people they were built to replace (Jazz and Charlie) from the show.

Are the two connected - the worms in everyones brains, and the recent unexpected sentience of the Charliebot2000? Or is everything just on fire right now? In ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless, why is the singer ‘making mad love to [his] girl on the heath’? Why is he on the heath?

Does the heath have worms?”

ORIGIN - We were really proud of our last show ‘Clonely’ but obstacles hindered our success: working shifts, paying bills, having no free time, and both of us suffering from mental health crises of varying degrees. In 2019 we decided we wanted to devise a show which would hypothetically work if only one of us could be there to perform, and to make that device central to the structure of the show. We envisioned creating various methods of contingency, from puppets and mannequins to audio and video recordings, to represent ourselves. We even created Charliebot2000 out of video footage of Charlie saying various phrases. It would blink and smile casually on a loop when not asked anything, and when asked a question the relevant response could be triggered by Jazz at will (including ‘I agree with everything Jazz just said’). The best version of the show would be one where we were both physically present and the show (as a character) was not prepared for this scenario and would try and eject us from itself.

This idea seems more relevant than ever in our current landscape of social distancing, video calls and anxiety.

TECH - we really want to spend time developing fun new ways to interact with audiences online. We have the skills to build minigames for the viewers at home that directly impact what happens on stage, and we are very excited to try it out.

THEMES - mental health, worms, the power of ideas, individualism vs collectivism, worms, fascism (a bit), trans stuff (probably), purpose, worms, and making art even when you can’t.

AESTHETIC - silly, bright and cobbled together: hundreds of ‘worm-on-a-string’s, full-sized worm costumes made from sleeping bags and the biggest googly eyes we can find, cartoon drawings and cobbled-together technology that shouldn’t work but somehow does.

SOUNDTRACK - wormy songs (Dr Worm - They Might Be Giants, The Caterpillar - The Cure) and earworms (Video Killed The Radio Star, Insomnia - Faithless, Chumbawamba)

EXPECT - dance sequences, montages, physical comedy, bits that seem lighthearted but turn out not to be, bits that start off dark but turn out not to be, audience making decisions on how the show progresses (live audience and at-home audience alike), dream sequences, games, and worms

With support from The Lowry Theatre, Charlie explored some initial audio ideas alongside other thoughts. Working with sound-designer and all round wizard Ben Leverett-Jaques, Charlie created this creepy, binaural audio (best enjoyed with headphones):

embed audio