Running as a part of the 2017 Darebin Arts Speakeasy season, Fabricated Rooms returns to the Melbourne stage with their latest groundbreaking work. Playing as a part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival from the 15th to the 28th of September, The Sky Is Well Designed is a new form hyperrealist sound-theatre performance that explores our relationship to transience and the natural environment.
Writer and director Patrick McCarthy cites the inspiration for the work as involving environmental influences from both within and without.
“In 2014 I spent a year as writer in residence at Chamber Made Opera, where I wrote the performance text for this work, ” he says. “Spending a year around composers and musicians really opened up my process to how music and sound could play a greater role in my work. The writing process included a lot of research into the historical relationship between the study of electromagnetic energy and the composition of music. I was also doing a lot of thinking about the relationship young people have to climate change, and how you face an uncertain future whilst pursuing creativity and personal connections with others.”
While the piece doesn’t have a message, McCarthy is interested in the notion of transience, how we navigate changes in our own lives and the world at large simultaneously. “I think most people are grappling with that tension in their lives at the moment,” he says.
McCarthy is less concerned with making statements on issues or delivering a certain message but encourages audience participation on another level.
” For the most part, my collaborators and I are focused on creating theatre that is complex and difficult, that asks the audience to engage in whatever intellectual and emotional way they feel is authentic,” he explains. “Hopefully then it starts to feel complicated and intimate and strange, just like real life.”
McCarthy takes inspiration from artists from all artforms and has done so to create this work which tells the story of two researchers, Bear and Thomas. The piece is inspired by the origin of the term Petrichor; the word used to describe the scent that remains in the air after rainfall. Using this as its foundation, The Sky Is Well Designed centres around two scientists in the vast Australian landscape as they undertake a study examining the musical qualities of electromagnetic energy. Drawing on the rich history of crossover with electromagnetic energy and music composition, The Sky Is Well Designed transports audiences to a fleeting moment where humans attempt to speak with the natural environment as it decays around them.
With each new work McCarthy tries to think about different influences that might fit together to have an interesting effect. “For this piece, I’ve been looking at work by composers like Alvin Lucier and John Cage, visual artists like James Turrell and Edward Hopper, and filmmakers like Terrence Malick and Sofia Coppola,” he explains. “My work tends to focus around intimate, gentle conversations and combines subtle hyperrealist acting with innovative design.”
The Sky Is Well Designed is a unique one-off experience, inviting Melbourne audiences to experience an intimate, hyper-realist performance coupled with an original live electronic score.
September 15 – 28