Interview: Marika Pratley on An Unfortunate Willingness to Agree

Workers Party member Marika Pratley was nominated for an award for composition in the play An Unfortunate Willingness to agree which ran at the Fringe Festival from 27 Feb 2012 to 2 Mar 2012. The production won a Fringe award for Best Dance and received an honorable mention for Sound Design. The Spark interviewed Marika about music and politics.

The Spark: What attracted you to this project?
MP: An Unfortunate Willingness to Agree was an opportunity for me to explore writing music for a contemporary dance show that was concerned with exploring political themes. Oliver Connew (director) was interested in ideas relating to social alienation, for example what caused things like the London Riots and Occupy movements, and how distanced people are from what happens in politics (i.e. the government) and the mainstream media. I was attracted to exploring these ideas in an artwork so applied for the job.

The Spark: How did you get into music in the first place?
MP: I started learning piano at kindergarten. It was not until high school I got into writing my own music, which was more avant garde focused and influenced by many genres, especially Greek and Classical music. I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Music majoring in Composition when I was in my final year of school and involve myself as much as I can in many different musical communities. Since then my style has evolved quite a bit and I have become more interested in sonic arts, i.e. weird noises and abstracted work.

The Spark: How do you think your politics intersect with your creative work?
MP: This particular case was my first ‘go’ at writing music with a political theme. Political music work is something I have shied away from in the past. I think this is partly because institutions are more concerned with you developing aesthetic related technique than concept-related ideas of music. Also my style is not usually dealing with text or lyrics, so in order to make a political point I would need to work with images or another art form. I am quite keen to take up the challenge and explore this further though.

The Spark: What other projects have you got coming up?
MP: One of the dancers asked me to collaborate with him on his choreography work which will premier at Te Whaea in May, but aside from that I am mainly just focusing on band work. I am hoping however to start work soon on a Palestine themed exhibition with a sound-based component. This is still in its early stages though and I am trying to find other artists to collaborate with. I also have a side project for fun that is inspired by sloths.