Black Mime Theatre, Mourning Song

Review in Issue 9-2 | Summer 1997

Mourning Song begins with a song in darkness, with powerful harmonies leading on to images of mourning and death. Three stories are told. A young man is murdered with a gun on the street and his girlfriend grieves his death. A family escapes Vietnam on a boat and a woman jumps off and drowns. The memories of this act stay with the family years later. In the last tale, a young boy is driven through grief and taunting by his peers to drown himself in a hot bath at home causing his mother immeasurable grief. All three stories were interwoven, chopping and cutting scenes and at one point all three were performed simultaneously.

The set was effectively simple with several clusters of bamboo sticks forming a semicircle. The sticks were used to great effect as sides of a boat, a coffin and to create rhythms. There were large white panels at the back of the stage on which images were projected. Music, dance, mime, and poetic text all created a moving atmosphere.

Mourning Song confronts the taboo and delicate subject of death and grief. Denise Wong directed the very strong and talented all-woman ensemble (Marva Alexander, Gupreet Bhatti, Tracey Bickley, Hazel Holder and Mai Vu). Three vocalists added depth to the ensemble’s powerful voices. Mourning Song is a superb and sensitive exploration of emotions and reactions to the death of a loved one.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-2
p. 23