Songs For A Weary Throat is a wonderful piece of work about to open at Theatre Works. It challenges possible perception about how to deal with tragedy and its aftermath and offers hope to situations where hope has been lost. Based on (in one way or another) the emotional journeys of the performers, Songs For A Weary Throat, promises an honest and fragile approach to story telling
Says director Kate Sulan: “Song for a Weary Throat explores the question – What is it that propels us to get up after trauma, after heartbreak, after loss, after failure? This work comes from the wisdom, bodies, experiences, imaginations and hearts of these 18 extraordinary and diverse performers, who have much to offer on the subject of resilience and hope.”
Song for a Weary Throat follows a logic that is emotional rather than linear, given voice by the Invenio Singers formed in March 2010 by singer/composer Gian Slater. They are an innovative ensemble of improvising and contemporary singers, experimenting with the typical vocal group choral form through conceptual composition, extended vocal technique, fluid improvising, choreographed movement and inventive performance.
The work combines the visual and physical aesthetic of the Rawcus Ensemble with the powerful vocal expression of Invenio.
Rawcus is an ensemble of performers with and without disability who create contemporary performance work. “Collaborating with a core creative team, Rawcus devises new work that expresses the imaginative world of the Ensemble,” says Sulan. “Drawing on dance, theatre and visual art disciplines, the work is crafted with a precision that supports the performers but allows space for their inherent sense of anarchy. Rawcus’ performance aesthetic is characterised by a marriage of intense physicality and arresting visual imagery.”
Sulan is the Artistic Director and founder of Rawcus and has been a big fan of the Invenio Singers but this is the first time she has collaborated with them. “It has been incredibly enriching for both companies,” she says.
“Rawcus is always seeking out collaborations with artists and companies where there is potential to stretch our artistic boundaries and we had always wanted to work with a choir. Invenio are an amazing ensemble of singers and we wondered what it would be like to bring two ensembles together. We invited Invenio to come and work with us as part of NEON (when Rawcus was invited by the Melbourne Theatre Company to do a residency as part of NEON in 2015) and the chemistry was electric. Since then we have been working together to create Song for a Weary Throat.”
For Sulan, the work was inspired by our current global climate and a need to spread positive words and thoughts. “In our current world, with all that is going on for each of us personally and globally, we wanted to make a work that looked at the place of hope,” she says. “We were interested in what hope really looks like, when we have had it and when we have felt the absence of it and what currency it holds in the current climate.”
In the wake of an unknown disaster, 18 performers emerge. The work invites the audience into a world where time is suspended to engage, reflect and explore the human experience of loss and resilience.
“Song for a Weary Throat is dangerously beautiful, tender and filled with fragility, ” says Sulan. “Rawcus has been described as “world class theatre– sumptuously imagined, visually stunning and profoundly moving” and our latest work explores the complexity of being human in a world filled with both loss and kindness. The creative process has been incredibly exciting for both Rawcus and Invenio and we can’t wait to share this work.”
November 29 – December 10
photos: Sarah Walker