interdisciplinary performance for mezzo-soprano, piano & dancer [50’] 2001
Funders: The Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Laidlaw Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts
Premiere: Vilma Vitols, Ya-wen Wang, Susan Macpherson, Open Ears Festival, Kitchener, Canada, May 6, 2001.
Credits: music & concept Juliet Palmer, choreography Bill James, lighting Paul Mathiesen, costume Evelyn von Michalofski, video Nick de Pencier, set design Juliet Palmer, Paul Mathiesen & Evelyn von Michalofski.
Additional credits: Am Meer (1828) for voice and piano — Franz Schubert; Venus of the South Seas (1924) starring Annette Kellerman — dir. James R. Sullivan; excerpts from How To Swim (1918) — Annette Kellerman; recorded voice: Gladys Boyce.
As a teenager in the 1920s, my grandmother Gladys played piano for silent films in the remote New Zealand town of Takaka. She still recalls a film which was shot nearby at Pohara beach. Although Glad has never seen the film, I found out later that it was the underwater spectacular Venus of the South Seas, starring Australian diver Annette Kellerman. A trained classical musician, Kellerman’s stage performances combined piano, violin and vocal recitals, along with high-diving and underwater stunts.
Flotsam & Jetsam weaves together memories of my grandmother with the fantastical watery world of Annette Kellerman. This performance is dedicated to my grandmother, Gladys Boyce.