Song without singers

Song is described as theatre without actors and songs without singers. From Melbourne’s Ranters theatre, it’s an unexpected project from a company known for their exquisite writing and acting.

Song. Photo by Sarah Walker
Song. Photo by Sarah Walker

Ranter’s Adriano Cortese and Brazilian visual artist Laura Lima worked with UK composer James Tyson to create a piece of live art that doesn’t feel or look like theatre. There’s no stage or performers.  You grab a piece of grass and a blanket, choose your spot on the floor of the town hall and relax as music (sound design by David Franzke) and light (Stephen Hennessy) fill the room, and scents (by Perfumer George Kara) are blown on the gentlest of breezes. Song is pure experience with the only character and story being you.

It’s like a mass meditation, but you’re free to wander or leave or watch the people around you as they forget that they can be seen.

In the middle of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, it was such a welcome relaxing experience that I forgot to write about it. I came home and slept: it was wonderful.

But is it theatre? It’s certainly well funded and supported as theatre. But it takes a lot to make your own experience into the experience of theatre. I loved Song because I got to lie down, shut my eyes and not have my “I’m loving your show” smile on. However, I’d forgotten the music by the time it was over and am sure that it will disappoint people.

So, go into Song knowing what it is, lie down (don’t wear a short skirt like I did), shut your eyes and enjoy 80 minutes of not having to worry about anything. There’s an afternoon performance on Saturday and night shows until Sunday.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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