Steamworks Arts new work The Unknown Soldier is a demanding performance work for a female performer that invites us to consider our greatest fears, the experience, ideology and psychology of terrorism and the war against women. The Unknown Soldier has received script development support from Playwriting Australia & Stages WA. A reading was held in Sydney at Performing Lines and another in WA. The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts has selected the work for its 2015/16 Development program. The feedback from readers has been strong and positive with the text being described as: ‘gutsy, nauseous, disturbing, rich, timely, relevant, contemporary poetic’.
In this development we will explore the interaction between voice, body and sound design, with sound as a key force and presence.
We will look at the structure and framing of the performer/audience relationship, the interaction between live & recorded sound/voice, and alternative sites and audience configurations. Showings will test our choices with invited audience. I intend to shape this work as an intimate, sensory theatre experience, with sound as a key force and presence.
We invite you to support this outstanding, all-female creative team: writer/director Sally Richardson, internationally recognised composer/sound artist Dr Cat Hope, actor Hayley McElhinney, designer Zoe Atkinson, dramaturg Francesca Smith, and producer Fiona de Garis. Your funds will go directly to pay the artists for their participation in this development. We are seeking to raise $6000.
What’s it about?
There is a universal & global fear of the Terrorist; who as a force is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Moving beyond the anecdotal, I set out to explore Terrorism as a metaphor where terrorism is not understood as a physical fact but as a social and environmental construction. In other words, ‘we all make terrorism what (we say) it is’ (The Social Construction of Terrorism by Alex Spencer).
Soldiers and terrorists are usually men, and tombs of ‘The Unknown Soldier’ contain remains of a male soldier… The remains are considered impossible to be identified, and so serve as a symbol for all of a country’s unknown dead wherever they fell in the war being remembered. The anonymity of the entombed soldier is the key symbolism…and therefore serves as a monument symbolizing all of the sacrifices. Assuming this ‘title’ is an acknowledgement to the sacrifices of the unknown, unidentified women ‘soldiers’, affected by wars both far and near.
“Female suicide bombers often are “grieving the loss of family members [and] seeking revenge against those they feel are responsible for the loss, [and/or] dishonored through sexual indiscretion.” (U.S. Army Female Suicide Bombers Report, Public Intelligence)
Our long term goal is to premiere the work in Perth,then one or more interstate capitals. We are in contact with a number of companies and several leading festival presenters, with Performing Lines WA well positioned to assist us in securing further development funds and presentations.
Find out more information here.
See Sally speak about the project here – The Unknown Soldier