The scenography here, from the ever-inspiring designer Alison Brown, is truly striking: black confetti on a clinical white floor; spiky masked not-quite-human creatures, elusive faces turned away, eerie white bound furniture, which is decorative as well as functional. Brown's black and white flimsy costumes act as sheaths (called winding sheets in ancient Celtic culture) both encasing and exposing the slender bodies underneath. This is “Endling,” Rob Heaslip's disquieting Gaelic meditation on death and the ritual of condolences and care. The sounds, created by composer Michael John McCarthy, range from birdsong to guttural, slurping sounds, drones to choppy electronica, and there is beautiful and unnerving singing from vocalists Michelle O' Rourke, Gillebride MacMillan and Robbie Blake. The styles of their vocals are very much akin to throat singing, baroque and chants, and are absolutely spellbinding.
“Endling” by Rob Heaslip. Photograph by Brian Hartley
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading