Crude Prospects is the new thrilling production from Les Foules and will be at Vault Festival, London. I spoke to Dramaturg Peter Wiedmann on his latest work. Wiedmann wrote Crude Prospects with contributions from Director, Nathalie Adlam. He explains how the Arctic just kept “cropping up in news, books, documentaries, and television.” Set in Alaska, friends Brett and Kathy confront a fissured friendship. Friendship is something that everyone can closely relate to and Wiedmann emphasises that “friendships often make more dramatically interesting relationships than love stories”. Maybe as dramatic as setting a Western in Alaska?

Crude Prospects is described as a “Western gone North” as Wiedmann admits that his love for Westerns led to him “stealing” conventions for Crude Prospects. He continues, “I think there’s a parallel between the current race for resource exploitation in the Arctic and the American mythology of Westward Expansion”. The issue of climate change has been a focus for Wiedmann when deciding on the setting and story; “As the climate changes and our dependency on fossil fuels doesn’t, the Arctic is coming into international focus more and more: as an object of resource exploitation, a litmus test for environmental changes, and as a metaphoric context for our imagined futures. For this show, we’ve tried to work imaginatively on a place and context that seems far away but is very “real” and “now””. Seems appropriate after the Global Warming talks in Paris and the coverage the issue is getting in the media.

Moving on, setting the scene of Alaska has proved to be an exciting project for Les Foules. The company is known for their wide range use of media in their productions as they are inspired by architectural form and space. Wiedmann praises the artist Betsy Dadd; “she’s a brilliant artist, and she is creating projections and animations with us –giving us a visual sense of the place”. Additionally, Tom Mclean has created music to “flesh it out” along with spoken word from the performers to create the landscape.

As the media has helped them create their Northern scene, Vault Festival helped them get attention from their previous show, Wiedmann goes on; “We really struck off in a new direction developing more new and original work. We learned a lot about getting the word out and teaming up with other companies to grow”. Additionally, working with the Battersea Arts Centre Freshly Scratched helped the team a lot.

Les Foules pride themselves in working with a diverse range of artists: “We always try to bring diverse perspectives and backgrounds to our work. We work to get something very personal from all of the artists into the show and create a world that reflects ours: where all these people would meet”. He goes onto explain that the multinational nature of Crude Prospects’ setting, “reflects something of our relationship”.

Wiedmann portrays his enthusiasm and passion for Les Foules’ Crude Prospects and with the plot lines, Alaska and range of media, I asked his what is favourite aspect of it all was. He simply replies, “The performers”. It is the performers that bring his words, the direction and the set to life. As Wiedmann says, “They make my world go round”.

Crude Prospects is playing at the Vault Festival until 21st February.