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

This collaboration between German director, Heiner Goebbels, and the girls’ choir, Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica, produces some inspired collisions of voices, bodies, image and text.

In 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.

The rich, tuneful and skillfully modulated voices of 30 teenage girls conjure a mesmerising and often thrilling, tonal landscape of harmonies in diverse styles.

Under 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Although 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.

The 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.

The 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.

There 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).

These 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.

By Kate Herbert

Creative Team
Heiner Goebbels: Director
Karmina Šilec: Artistic Director Carmina Slovenica
Klaus Grünberg: lighting design
Florian Bilbao: choreography
Florence Von Gerkan: costume
Matthias Mohr: dramaturgy
Willi Bopp: sound design

No comments:

Post a Comment