Sophie Hunter Lucretia

Tuesday, June 14, 7 & 8pm
Thursday, June 16, 8pm

Sophie Hunter’s installation Lucretia is based on fragments of Benjamin Britten’s opera “The Rape of Lucretia” – specifically, the image of a group of women spinning at a loom as their husbands are off waging war.

The piece extracts various elements of the opera; the singers and orchestra, the narrative, and the operatic process itself, and deconstructs and examines them devoid of their original context.

These are then rewoven to record an altogether new sonic experience – a densely knitted soundscape incorporating elements of live singing, recorded instruments and mechanical noise. Parallels are drawn between the act of weaving and the recording or ordering of information. Single threads from the visual and sound worlds combine and resign their original identity to become bound to and part of each other – assimilated into new forms and patterns.

Lucretia centers around a room made of fishing wire, illuminated by naked light bulbs. Outside the room, several monitors are placed at varying heights. They reference the whirring and clicking of the loom, the sewing machine, cogs and connectors, the telephone switchboard, the spectrum of beeps and tones that provide the soundtrack to modern technology and women’s connection and interaction with them. The women in the space operate in infinite detail; they become agents of change and controllers of information.

Myth is populated with weavers, from Penelope to Philomela. In these stories and traditions, weaving is more than a domestic pastime; it becomes a means of expression, a metaphor for survival, power and faithfulness. Weaving in essence is a recording of information, a means to encode it, a system of memory and a system of creativity. In this installation, Lucretia’s looms are transferred from the domestic sphere and changed into monitors; exacting machines capable of decoding information. Instead of pictures woven in tapestries or yarn, these women weave in a digital visual form.

Sophie Hunter has assembled an international team of collaborators from the worlds of opera, film and theatre to create the piece.

Andrew Staples – collaborator, musical director, additional sound design; Singers: Kirsten Allegri, Valerie Kraft Sonya Headlam, Syvlie Jensen;
Performers: Justine Salata, Claire Helene, Jacqueline Kerrod – Harp, Melissa Mizell – Lighting designer, Sarah Outhwaite – Assistant Director, video editing, Poppy de Villeneuve – Original video content,
John Fitzwilliam – additional video design, Asa Wember – Sound design, Raphael Zinman – Production

Sophie Hunter studied at Oxford University and Jacques Lecoq, Paris. She has devised, developed, directed and performed in theatre and performance pieces throughout Europe as well as in the Middle East and New York.In 2007, she was awarded the prestigious Oxford Samuel Beckett Award for new voices in experimental theatre. Most recently, Sophie has been exploring new directorial and performative approaches to opera. Sophie has just collaborated on a production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (performances in France and London). Forthcoming projects include Benjamin Britten’s The Rape Of Lucretia (New York) and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Africa, with Vignette Productions) She recently directed a reimagining of Ibsen’s Ghosts, performed in New York in November, and is researching a large-scale multi-media performance based on the poetry of Sappho, in collaboration with the writer Maureen Duffy. Sophie is currently working with New York based company, Phantom Limb and will be directing their latest work, 69 DEGREES SOUTH which will premier at BAM Harvey Theatre in November 2011 Sophie Hunter’s residency is supported by the Location One International Committee.