Maria, Monk and the Inuits

“We’re very interested in the phenomenon of the voice.” Robert Lepage said in one of his many interviews. And in another, he said, "People always talk about our visual vocabulary and how we're obsessed with the image...but we're also very interested in the word and oral expression, music, lyrics and sound." So this time, they decided to focus on themes of voice, language and speech.

After a summer performance at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, Lipsynch will move to BAM's Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn in October. Interestingly, the Festival has also programmed "Songs of Ascension" by the noted vocalist Meredith Monk. I have always admired Monks' ability to make groundbreaking exploration of the voice, and this new work's visual elements were developed in collaboration with Ann Hamilton, another artist I am very fond of.

I can't help connecting the scene in Lipsynch where Maria, still recovering from her brain surgery and with bandage on her head, sat in front of a computer and started practicing her voice. Behind her was a big computer screen. Every time she sang a line a new sound channel was created. In a way, the voice, or voices resemble Monk's singing, or even, in the back of my head - very much the Inuit throat singing.

Photo credit: ÉRICK LABBÉ

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