Proto-type Theater, Whisper

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

On entering the auditorium I see the stage area is masked with a screen. On my seat I find a set of headphones. When the lights on stage come on, three performers behind microphone stands appear as silhouettes in changing scales, thus seemingly close-up one moment, distant in the next. The audio impressions I receive through the headset suggests their voices are whispering in my ear. The narrative which unfolds takes me on a walk through an unnamed city, along busy streets, past shopping malls and through parks. I am glimpsing aural snapshots of people passing me on my journey while overhearing snippets of phone conversations. Adding live sound creation to the fragmented narration of the three voices, I seem to be immersed in a radio play in which voice-over and Foley artistry coincide. The changing lightscape which frames the performers at times suggests the doors and windows of city office buildings and apartments; at other times side lighting from behind the screen transforms the black and white silhouettes into actual bodies, bringing them into the third dimension.

Cutting-edge technology and well-honed dramaturgy, but the piece does not resonate with me on a personal level – Whisper remains strangely abstract, feeling something like a speeded up audio-captioned performance of Peter Handke’s The Hour We knew Nothing Of Each Other.

However Whisper does create an aurally imaginative and multi-faceted portrait of fast and fragmented modern city life and produces an ambitious and unusual experience. I take off my headset, expecting to witness a silent movie. Surprisingly I can still hear the words uttered.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 31