I recently spoke to performance artist Glen Murray about his new production ‘Brittle’ which will play as part of RAWspace at the Theatre Royal this month following the success of the project last year. As the name raw suggests the performances that make up raw are fresh new productions by Tasmanian theatre artists.
As it suggests ‘Brittle’ exposes our fragility including our very thoughts on our ability to love versus being ‘emotionally stunted’. Glen says ‘Brittle’ it is a ‘guttural’ performance of emotions rather than the intellect. The audience are invited to engage and this is where it can become very confronting with Glen himself symbolically dressed down to his underwear, vulnerable and exposed and seeking to make eye contact and so connection with the audience on their own vulnerability.
Of recent years Glen, a former ballet dancer with Australia’s top ballet companies, and choreographer has been very busy, replete with ideas for performance including most recently an invitation to perform one of his pieces in Austria where another production ‘Babble’ saw its birth.
‘Babble’ focuses on the more than fifty languages spoken in Tasmania and is in association with Ten Days on the Island. Glen works with composer Heath Brown and Jason James on sound and lighting.
The genesis of ‘Babel’ happened one night in Austria when Glen was dining out with a group of people speaking in Austrian. Glen accepted he could not communicate with them so relaxed without feeling the pressure to speak. He noted however that the Syrian asylum seekers who were part of the dinner group were acting differently, they were anxious because for them there was a necessity to learn the language of their new homeland.
To Glen the language was exquisite and beautiful to listen to like music from opera in another language. There was beauty in just listening to it as a work of art. This led Glen to the idea of the essence of language aside from interpretation of the words.
The structure of ‘Babel’ says Glen is simple with participants asked to speak their language naturally and if they feel they need something to help them along its suggested they bring along on a poem or a traditional story to recite.
Glen tells me he is accepting more participants for the project. So if you have knowledge of another language and would like to take part contact Glen at
‘Brittle’ will feature at the Theatre Royal as part of RAWspace on Thursday 16 March. and ‘Babel’ at the Hobart Council Centre on Sat 18 Mar 2017, 5pm – 10pm Fri 24 Mar 2017, 6pm – 11pm Sat 25 Mar 2017, 5pm – 10pm