A visionary new solo work about Chekov, climate change and the end of the world.
The Bluebird Mechanicals is an intensely disquieting new work about impending disaster that unfolds inside a natural history museum cabinet playing space.
The Bluebird Mechanicals, is an interdisciplinary solo work about our collective loss of feeling on the cusp of climate change. It weaves a series of seemingly disparate elements together into a devastating climax: Kostya’s ghost in the aftermath of Chekov’s The Seagull, the final fiery flight of the Hindenburg, and the omniscience of birds. The experience unfolds inside a natural history museum diorama playing space enveloped by intricate, immersive visual and sound design. The work blurs the line between the real and the imagined, the animate and the inanimate, and employs the uncanny and automata, using taxidermy animals, wind-up toys and live-filmed miniature worlds.
In the show, Konstantin from Chekov’s The Seagull returns to haunt Nina after he has shot himself. He takes her in a rowboat across a lake and abandons her in a forest. She wanders there and speaks to an owl, becoming disoriented. This process of abandonment reawakens her capacity to feel, remembering Konstantin’s previously dismissed play about extinction. Woven alongside their story, the audience is taken on a journey aboard the Hindenburg with an uncanny airship host who talks to them about their perilous fate.
“A portent of disaster” is at the centre of The Bluebird Mechanicals with the Hindenburg as a symbol for the excess of our contemporary times. Throughout, the performer sits with objects such as bird figurines and an enormous fish, until they begin to speak. A Russian woman stands outside it all in a portrait studio, commenting on history, memory and our inability to listen. Cumulatively, the fragments point towards the potential disaster we are heading towards: climate change.
Their previous work, Of the Causes of Wonderful Things was shown at Brisbane Powerhouse and Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar:
“This is intensely moving theatre, and for all the bleakness, beautiful. Rubin makes the unbearable seem bearable. Horror bows to wonder. I left feeling stricken but radiant.”
– The Age
“The human condition can be spoken of and can be read about. But when you hear it, see it and if it unveils in front of you, haunting you, if it unsettles your being and if you begin to live within a dream narrative that has lost all boundaries – if all of this is achieved on stage then it can only be magic.”
– Australian Stage
TALYA RUBIN – Writer/Co-Devisor/Performer/Visual Concept – TALYA RUBIN
NICK JAMES – Co-Devisor/Director
HAYLEY FORWARD – Sound Designer
RICHARD VABRE – Lighting Designer
SAM JAMES – Video Designer
CORINNE MERRELL – Set Consultant
NANCY BELZILE – Object/Miniature Designer
CAITLIN ROSS & ALIZEE MILLOT – Object/Miniature Makers
MARK SWARTZ – Set Builder/Cabinet Designer
KITA MENDOLIA – Puppet Costume Maker
BRYONY ANDERSON & MATHIEU RENE – Puppet Makers
CHRISTOPHER BALDWIN – Costume Maker
CAMPION DECENT – Dramaturge
SARAH ELKASHEF & JODI ESSERY – Script Consultants
Metro Arts Performance Season // 7 to 16 September 2017 – Presented by Too Close To The Sun & Metro Arts
Too Close to the Sun acknowledges the support of the Theatre Arts Residency Program at The Banff Centre.
The Bluebird Mechanicals has been developed, in part, through The Collaborations, an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre.
This project is supported by the NSW government through Arts NSW.
Too Close to the Sun would like to thank le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec for its financial support.
This performance was supported through the Rex Cramphorn Studio’s Artists-in-Residence Program, in Performance Studies at the University of Sydney.
The Bluebird Mechanicals was assisted through HotHouse Theatre’s A Month in the Country residential program, a project delivered in partnership with Albury City.
Assistance has also been provided by Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal.
The Bluebird Mechanicals is supported by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.