Photos rule

THEATRE

 

Uyuyun Su
rule

Directed by: Rainsford, in collaboration with Mary Salem

    Performed by: Mary Salem & Rainsford, & Elizabeth Langley

    In 1996 Chapel of Change became the first Australian Arts Company to be officially invited to Turkey.
There, they developed a site specific work with Gallipoli as central to the theme; It was a contemporary
expression exploring the space between intent and sacrifice; innocence and fear; survival and surrender. With these identities Rainsford felt they could symbolise rather than portray the Australian Gallipoli experience. ’It must be given a universal sense of loss, of the futility of war, and the power of reconciliation.’

The work was titled: UYUYAN SU - The Sleeping Water: Part 1 Gallipoli.
Mary Salem became symbolic of the blood of mother soul, and the Turkish soil. A relationship that brought a balanced empathy to the work for the Turkish audience for which of course Gallipoli has as much historical significance as it has for Australia. The Australian legend of Simpson and his donkey was also used - using a donkey and a trench that was ironically finally dug out for them by Turkish soldiers:-

...' side story:...because word of our work spread, it attracted over two thousand spectators, which the small festival organisation was totally unprepared for, they asked a local platoon of Turkish soldiers (they had been stationed outside of Assos at a road block searching for illegal immigrants) to help in crowd control.
We had built a trench which ran twelve metres long between two areas of charcoaled earth that had become our open-air stage, the trench was camouflaged with a covering of cane, fabric and earth so that it also became a tunnel between the centre of one position, and the centre of another. Five minutes prior to start time, a technician walked across our stage and fell full body length into the trench collapsing at least a third of it. I began to think we might have to postpone the show, but suddenly, the Turkish soldiers, who had witnessed the crash, ran over and offered to rebuild the trench. I stood back in amazement at the irony of the image before me, as these Turkish soldiers worked furiously to rebuild the Australian trench about Gallipoli. In that moment, more was said than we could say in our entire work.' ~ Rainsford
 

...site specific is a term much used though little understood, but Uyuyun Su not only defined the terms but illuminated their meaning, integrated their complexity, while creating profound and moving theatre.~ Professor Elizabeth Langley  Contemporary Dance, Concordia University, Montreal

Commentary:

From Monroe Denton:   American theatre critic, writing in the Daily Bulletin:

The Symbolists tendency (appropriate to a millennial consciousness), but as re-imagined by William Butler Yeats, came to mind in the Australian group Chapel of Change's morning presentation.  In a clearing in the Necropolis facing the sea the performers presented a piece heavily reliant on Butoh.  Rainsford and Mary Salem’s departures from this Japanese form presented the most thrilling moments...Salem raising and lowering a cord of rock/shells in the broken cistern which formed part of the found setting of the piece...to the inspiring sensitivity of the woman to the donkey's bray (when she first stood ) or the work in the latter part where the two moved, not in unison but together.  The donkey with the woman on top was inescapably Yeatsian to this viewer: the rude beast 'slouching toward Bethlehem/Waiting to be born.'  An Australian colleague in the audience, however, offered a different interpretation:  Simpson, at the battle in nearby Gallipoli, evacuating his men on a donkey.  Either image is appropriate to the action.........The afternoon presentation of Chapel of Change in the charcoaled dry river bed established that the subject was indeed Gallipoli with an opening of drums and pipes.

Rainsford's slow cross to the donkey and the final moments were the types of images that make theatre a great visual art.