Eva Sigurðardóttir (Vitjanir) er annar leikstjóra þáttaraðarinnar Domino Day sem sýnd verður á BBC á næsta ári. Drama Quarterly ræddi við Evu, Lauren Sequeira höfund verksins og Lawrence Bowen yfirframleiðanda.
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Domino Day creator Lauren Sequeira, director Eva Sigurdardottir and executive producer Lawrence Bowen reveal how this BBC series about a young witch marries supernatural spectacle with contemporary themes of identity and the dating world.
The world of dating apps can be fraught with risk and uncertainty at the best of times. But in BBC series Domino Day, title character Domino isn’t swiping right in her search for love – she’s hunting for her next target.
Blending coming-of-age story and supernatural drama, the six-parter introduces the young witch who is coming to terms with the extraordinary powers she possesses. But as Domino attempts to understand who she is and find more like her, a coven of witches is already tracking her, convinced they must stop her before she has the chance to destroy everything and everyone around her.
Starring Siena Kelly (Adult Material) as Domino, the show is the first original series from creator Lauren Sequeira. The writer, whose other credits include Gangs of London, wanted to tell a story about a witch with dangerous magical abilities, but where the magical world she lives in is very much rooted in modern reality – dating apps and all.
In terms of finding the right director to lead the drama, which is distributed internationally by Fremantle, Bowen wanted someone who could make Domino Day feel “as truthful as possible” so when the supernatural elements do come to the fore, audiences would already be embedded in the world of the show.
Sigurdardottir (Good Night, Rainbow Party) proved to be the perfect person for the job, despite her own admission that “I’m not a genre director.”
“That’s not my expertise,” she continues. “I love a good genre piece when it has something clever to say, but I’m not even the person who goes and watches something just because it’s a genre film. I’m much more of a drama director. That is where I tend to hang – and I jokingly say that my favourite thing is to make people feel a little bit uncomfortable. I love to pose the difficult questions and challenge the audience.”
The director was therefore a little surprised when she was first approached about Domino Day, but says the script “hit a nerve” thanks to the way Sequeira developed the characters and delivered the show’s message.
“The themes of identity and belonging, the dating world and that grittiness of the modern challenges of women, these are things I just really understood, so I knew why they were reaching out to me,” Sigurdardottir says. In her initial conversations with the production team, she was clear in her intention to tell a story that would stand up without the magical elements, which could then be added in to elevate the series.
“Even though Domino’s dealing with specific challenges we might not experience in our day-to-day life, I needed the audience to be able to reflect on that and to be able to see the symbolism that we were talking about,” she says. “I do really believe there are quite a few messages in the show, hidden or not. But definitely we were saying something that was more than just straight entertainment.”
In particular, Sigurdardottir resonated with the show’s question of identity and where it comes from. “The key question of the series is who are we, and what is our identity and how do we acquire it?” she says. “In Domino’s case, she doesn’t know where she originates from and is basically being told who she is. It’s something that, especially with women, we’re told what we should be, but is that a choice or is that something we are born into?
“Rather, you decide yourself, am I good or bad? Is this good or bad? Is this what I stand for? Domino has also had a quite a toxic relationship, which people might be able to relate to, and that adds to Domino’s confusion. These were things I really enjoyed opening up.”
On screen, Domino Day utilises its contemporary Manchester setting – a city where old meets new. From the opening moments of the first episode, it’s not even clear that this is a supernatural series, as the story’s magic very much comes from the characters rather than the environment around them.
“We had to ask ourselves, do we have to create a whole world of different buildings and different things? Or maybe the witch is just that girl on the bus who’s having an argument with her boyfriend,” Sigurdardottir says. “Maybe it’s the old lady at the grocery store. We wanted people to just really enjoy the magic, but also entice people like myself who aren’t the obvious audience and are going to enter the story from its humanity and then go on a crazy ride.
“It was fun to just say, ‘What if we placed it in the most normal setting and they’re young and they probably still like to go out and they probably have a lot of issues that are also just very everyday?’ But then it’s elevated because it’s life and death and it’s higher stakes.”