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© Julian AbramsMaxine Doyle (co-director and choregrapher) 'This brilliant design detail makes me smile. It reminds me of the character Alice Estée and how this object provided her show mantra. I love how the photograph captures its wear and tear.  We know it had a life before "The Drowned Man".'
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© Julian AbramsFelix Barrett (artistic director of Punchdrunk and co-director of 'The Drowned Man' 'I find this image so haunting. For me this was one of the most frightening moments in the show; where the essence of Mr Stanford is distilled and you’re trapped within his inner sanctum, unable to escape. Terrifyingly claustrophobic and a masterclass in close up acting from Sam Booth. But not everyone could endure it - in one of our most extreme reactions to a one on one, Kanye West freaked out and threw the orange around the room. The speakers blew up a week later as a result...'
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© Julian AbramsFB 'Human hair seems to be a recurring motif in our work! In "The Drowned Man" it was a direct link to the Captain in "Woyzeck", but it’s the superstition, the old English folklore that reinforces the fascination; if you collect a strand of someone’s hair you then have control over them - their soul is in your hands. We want an underscore of magic to crackle through our shows...'
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© Julian AbramsMD 'This photograph to me is totally Punchdrunk - all magic and mystery - a space full of expectation and promise.  This image is seductive, it invites me into another world where the lights are sparkling.'
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© Julian AbramsJulian Abrams (photographer) 'This was one of the first shots taken on the trial performance shoot at which time I didn’t really know whether I could make the lighting work technically. It was taken in William and Mary’s bedroom which had been one of the most memorable sets from my time as an audience member as it had really reminded me of the suburban American sets of art photographer Gregory Crewdson, of whom it turned out we are all fans. When we reviewed the edit from that session we all particularly loved this image and I think it successfully exemplified the way Felix and Maxine wanted the show to be represented. In that sense it was a real driving force in agreeing to go ahead.'
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© Julian AbramsJA 'For me this image is very Hitchcock-ian… Fania, the performer, has such a strong look and seems to portray both the strength and vulnerability of Hitchcock’s heroines simultaneously.  When combined with the attention to detail in set design - the phone, the hand mirror and of course the lipstick - it feels incredibly cinematic which is what I really wanted the images to convey.'
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© Julian AbramsFB 'To me this is archetypally Punchdrunk, a moment of pure intimacy. It’s breaking all the rules and etiquette of personal space that adult life teaches you. We want you to be pressed up to situations you’d normally shy away from. And in this image Julian has perfectly captured the cinematic feeling that we were striving for. You can just feel the heat and electricity bristling off them.'
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© Julian AbramsJA 'Although it’s a little unconventional, this image represents the physicality of the performances in the show. We had discussed capturing crops of the performers bodies prior to shooting and I love the tension in the hands and the way the fabric is stretched taut over Ira’s back.  When combined with the ferocity of the bare teeth they lend it a corporeal potency.'
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© Julian AbramsMD 'Dance and photography are both choreographic practices engaged in composing the body in relation to time and space.  This was one of our first test shots.  We were trying to work out how to capture movement in such low light levels and how to work harmoniously together.'

The Punchdrunk book – a peep inside

Photos, commentary and celeb gossip from the smash-hit immersive theatre experience

By Andrzej Lukowski

‘The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable’ is a new book by photographer Julian Abrams of images taken from the epic 2013 Punchdrunk show of the same name. Click through for nine photos from the book, plus commentary from Abrams and Punchdrunk artistic director Felix Barrett and associate director Maxine Doyle (including a fruity story about one of the show’s many celebrity guests…).

'The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable' will be available to buy from June 20. To pre-order a copy go to


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