Maa Hero 2In MAA, Jay Emmanuel portrays a personal story of loss and suffering in a uniquely visceral theatrical event.  Emmanuel brings a unique synthesis of Indian classical dance forms and Jacques Lecoq’s physical theatre techniques to share his childhood experiences in India.

Emmanuel and his collaborators Phil Thomson (Dramaturg, Ochre Contemporary Dance Company) and brilliant young musical composer Tao Issaro (Kaya) have devised a deeply moving, visually enchanting story of isolation, slavery and oppression about a boy saved by the power of his creative imagination.

MAA explores the story of an abandoned child whose mother is forced to move away to gain qualifications to save her family from poverty.  The boy is trapped in a house with a cruel and authoritarian great aunt who enslaves the young boy and facilitates his abuse.  Lost and despairing the boy uses his childhood training in art and transformative dance to build an imaginary world and become a powerful being within the prison of his room.

With controlled and fast footwork Emmanuel pounds intricate rhythms to traditional Indian music as he swirls across the stage in perpetual motion. In Theyyam-like transformations he moves from adult to child to powerful goddess.  His Lecoq training is displayed in bouffon and mime moments which  comically unleash the grotesque side of human existence.

Director Phil Thomson acknowledges that ,“Jay has challenged me to use our performance art to grapple with questions of suffering and abuse.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to explore this difficult territory whilst celebrating the power of creativity. I’ve been surprised by the joy within our process, and moved by Jay’s curiosity and open heart. I applaud his courage to share his childhood triumph over loneliness and despair.”

Jay Emmanuel is an Indian actor, dancer and director with training in Indian classical dance (Kathakali and Bharatnatyam).  After emigrating to Perth as a teenager he trained in Paris at Ecole Jacques Lecoq. After graduation he beat over a thousand dancers to participate in Radhouane El-Meddeb’s Heroes Prelude, the first dance work ever at France’s Pantheon. After two years with El-Meddeb he returned to India for a period of artistic research; and worked with the legendary Ariane Mnouchkine/Theatre du Soleil. Last year he presented at the Delhi International Arts Festival. In 2017, he directed Biryani in collaboration with Palme D’or winning actor Kali Srinivasan and Tao Issarro.  This is his solo debut in Australia.

Jay is the Artistic Director of St George’s Dance and Theatre. In the last seven months of his appointment he has produced and commissioned 11 works, including Biryani, In Situ (with Strut Dance) and the upcoming Proximity Festival.

Director of MAA, Phil Thomson, Company Dramaturg at Ochre Contemporary Dance Company, is an award-winning director and actor who has worked throughout Australia, PNG and Europe.  His latest work for Ochre, Good Little Soldier, garnered extraordinary reviews. In November he is taking Ochre’s indigenous dancers to India to work with the Daksha Sheth Dance Company.

Composer Tao Issaro has performed throughout the world with Daksha Sheth Dance Company.  Whilst in Perth he has travelled through sacred lands with Ochre and created the amazing score for their 2016 production Kaya.  Last year he was summoned by Indian Prime Minister Modi to perform for Mr Putin and other world leaders.  Earlier this year he trained 21 drummers to launch a 112 foot statue of Shiva (the world’s largest) for an audience of half a million people.  He tours to the Edinburgh Festival and the UK later this year.

Story, Choreography and Performance by Jay Emmanuel

Direction and Dramaturgy by Phil Thomson

Music and Sound Design by Tao Issaro

Puppet Design and Building by Leon Hendroff

Lighting Design and Operation by Christian Lovelady

Set Design by Etain Boscato and Jay Emmanuel

Where: Lower Burt Hall St George’s Cathedral, 36 St George’s Terrace, Perth

Season: 7.30-8.30 pm, 14-28 October

Price: $20 concession, $30 Adult + BF  Suitable for 16+

Bookings or call 9325 5766