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2006 Media Releases - Events - The Conch

Issued Tuesday, 7 February 2006


A searingly beautiful work speaking volumes about Pacific life.
Capital Times (New Zealand)

is the first work from groundbreaking Pacific Island theatre company The Conch, brought together by director Nina Nawalowalo and based in Wellington, New Zealand. From 7 – 25 June audiences are in for a rare theatrical experience as Sydney Opera House in partnership with the Biennale of Sydney presents the Australian premiere of The Conch’s captivating production Vula.

Vula” is the Fijian word for moon, a particularly important force when your life revolves around the sea. Vula explores the practical, sensual and spiritual relationships between Pacific Island women and water – a space where the worlds of the natural, mythological and everyday coexist. On a flooded stage, the four performers of The Conch seamlessly blend the European traditions of mime, magic and illusion with traditional song, dance and imagery drawn from Pacific Island cultures. The women interact vocally and physically with the water in this exquisite production, which moves from the spiritual to the comedic to the surreal.

Vula’s visual beauty is heightened by the atmosphere created by composer Gareth Farr and lighting designer Stephen Blackburn. The women move and dance over, in and through the water, creating sensual images against a backdrop of haunting and evocative sound.

Nawalowalo formed The Conch after returning from Europe where she spent many years creating visually arresting work using a blend of magic, mask and clowning. With Vula, Nawalowalo wanted to explore a uniquely theatrical language dedicated to combining European theatre traditions with the profound depth of her Pacific Island heritage. The inspiration for Vulacomes from a trip she made to Fiji in 1994 when she brought back with her the image of fisherwomen, wading through waves, calling to each other in song.

Colour, sound, light and reflection are used in Vula to portray the complexities of life and death, seasonal changes, the fish that swim through the coral reefs of Fiji and the fisherwomen who trap them. The grace, beauty and sheer theatricality of the performances and the creative genius of the director make this extraordinary piece of visual theatre a feast for the soul.

Program Details: Vula
Venue: The Playhouse
Dates: Preview 7 June, 2006
Season 8 – 25 June
Times: Tues 6.30 pm, Wed – Fri 8pm
Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 5pm
Artists Talk: Sun 11 June (post show)
Tickets: Preview $35
Season $45/$35

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