Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 23 October 2014
When The Mountain Changed Its Clothing, Oct 23, 2014 ****
By Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenia Concept, direction &
music by Heiner Goebbels Melbourne Festival State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne; Oct 23 to 26, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 23, 2014 Stars: **** Full review also published in Herald Sun online on Friday Oct 24. KH
collaboration between German director, Heiner Goebbels, and the girls’ choir, Vocal
Theatre Carmina Slovenica, produces some inspired collisions of voices, bodies,
image and text.
Goebbels’ production of When The Mountain Changed Its Clothing, these vital, young
women explore with energy and joy their burgeoning awareness of youth, ageing and
the world around them.
rich, tuneful and skillfully modulated voices of 30 teenage girls conjure a
mesmerising and often thrilling, tonal landscape of harmonies in diverse
the artistic direction of Karmina Šilec, the choir employs both the pure tones
of classical vocal techniques as well as the raw sound of open throat singing
that is common in Eastern European traditional songs.
girls’ voices are also cunningly used in the form of “call and response”, or in
vocal conversations where the choir speaks in one voice as a recalcitrant child
enquiring about the meaning of right and wrong, the forbidden and disobedience.
first 20-30 minutes has the look and feel of a drama development workshop with
its predictable and patterned movement, but this eventually evolves into a more
layered and complex interlacing of voice, word and movement.
the singing is the highlight of this production, Goebbels also creates an
abstract world on stage as the girls build and rebuild their own stage design
with chairs, tables, vivid costumes and canvas backdrops of remarkable
paintings including Henri Rousseau’s Jungle With Lion.
stage action is focussed on the girls’ moving through the vast space, shifting between
fluid, impulse-driven walking and rhythmic, percussive and repetitive movement
that, when overlaid with the enchanting chorus, becomes almost meditative.
flow of movement is like a contagion as one girl alters the action triggering
the others to follow, creating patterns on stage, forming groups or bursting
intermittently and delightfully into snatches of song.
is no linear narrative, although Goebbels draws text from various sources
including: Gertrude Stein (How Writing Is Written), Ian McEwan (The Cement
Garden), Jean Jaques Rousseau (Emil on Education) and even an excerpt from TV
weather meteorology (What Causes Lightning).
vibrant, young women have not only a glorious, harmonic vocal quality but also a
joyful commitment and vitality that makes this production captivating without it
being profound or challenging.
Heiner Goebbels: Director
Šilec: Artistic Director Carmina Slovenica