Part of a set of excerpts from ten major works by Nigel Kellaway (1994 - 2004), assembled and edited by Kellaway and his long-time associate, video artist Peter Oldham.
Premiered in February 2004 at Performance Space, Sydney
Witness a live movie shoot each evening – and watch it all turn hysterically awry.
Truffaut, Cassavetes, Wertmuller and Hitchcock – all blurred in a comic fantasy of daring and queer persuasions! In the hands of director Nigel Kellaway, opera is here outrageously over-the-top, and all the world’s a stage for divas, drag queens and miscellaneous megalomaniacs.
Within the confines of a dilapidated film set, three remarkable performers each approach the thriller genre from a very different bent.
Soprano Karen Cummings, prominent Australian contemporary music exponent, plays the diva who refuses to appear on stage, jilted in “un-nameable” love, bitter, and seeking revenge on all in her sights.
Katia Molino, the thinking wo/man’s ‘mind and body of contemporary performance practice’, revels in all the vanity of an Italian B grade film auteur, as she herds the extras around the set of her deadly melodrama.
Nigel Kellaway surrenders his better known megalomaniacal roles to flirt as the sadly irrelevant drag-queen movie extra, gradually confuses his neurosis with disturbing psychopathy.
As ever, with The opera Project, it’s an extravagantly larger than life experience, under Kellaway’s baroque direction, all exquisitely framed by the writings of legendary performance poet Amanda Stewart (of Machine for Making Sense) and composer Stephen Adams and captured/projected live each night by Peter Oldham’s camera under the blaze of Simon Wise’s lighting.
With each new work The opera Project has brought radical surprises to delight its audiences, and The Audience and Other Psychopaths pursues that notoriety for the outrageously unexpected.
The Audience and Other Psychopaths is primarily and wildly comic. Kellaway is at his funniest in the recorded scene in which, looming against the Sydney Opera House, he catches the ferry and then clumsily pedals a bicycle to the Lane Cove murder site. Elsewhere he has the right kind of droll obtuseness that echoes Robert Walker’s villain in Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train”, both funny and frightening. The moment when he cracks with a shriek is chilling, pushing past melodrama. Katia Molina is the whirlwind director, issuing orders in a flood of Italian and English, performing mourning, outrage and death in her own film in an endless rush of hilarious and inexplicable costume changes.
The Audience and Other Psychopaths is a wild ride … endearingly lunatic, a fantasia of inversions, reversals and, as always with The opera Project, assaults on the artforms and genres we love but must not let rest. The play of light and projected image is particularly potent here, cutting across forms to yield a convincing cinematic theatricality with some eerie, memorable images conjured with the flick of a cigarette lighter or the alternation of screen and scrim.
Other performances from Nigel Kellaway's Works 1994-2004:
This Most Wicked Body (17'50'')
The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior (4'30'')
The Berlioz: Our Vampires Ourselves (14'55'')
The Terror of Tosca (22'15'')
Little George (17'20'')
El Inocente (7'10'')
Entertaining Paradise (16')
Another Night: Medea (14'05'')
More from Kellaway / The oPera Project Inc - DVD & Streaming:
Nigel Kellaway in Sleepers wake! wachet auf!
The Rameau Project