In 11 major works over 17 years, The Opera Project Inc. has explored in multifarious ways the etymology of the word “opera” (its literal Italian meaning, “a work”) as well as its culturally implied meanings. It is a “project” in that it entails, first and foremost, an interrogation of form.
The Opera Project Inc.
The multiform theatre pieces Nigel Kellaway realizes as a composer, director, and collagist of texts are “scenic concerts” considering the interaction of complex spatial arrangements with musical and linguistic practices, bringing together languages (acting, music making, installation, light, poetry, song, dance, etc.) that can otherwise become disintegrated. For us composition (musical and theatrical) is, first and foremost, the shaping of time and the processes of perception. A particular musicality imprints itself on the aesthetics, meaning and perception of this work, providing dramaturgical, emotional and rhythmic drive. This is physical theatre exploring the discrete abstract qualities of dynamics, tempi, light and staging. Here is an “abstract” means working against “interpretation” of a theatrical moment, against spoon-feeding the audience a particular view or understanding. There exists a kind of polyphony and counterpoint – a multiplicity of conjunctions and confrontations – in which theatre is experienced as a “site of collision”.
Major works by The Opera Project Inc.:
The Berlioz: our vampires ourselves (1997-2001)
The Terror of Tosca (1998)
This Most Wicked Body (1994 -1998)
El Inocente (2001)
Entertaining Paradise: where all things are permitted (2002)
Another Night: Medea ( 2003)
The Audience and Other Psychopaths (2004)
Sleepers Wake! Wachet Auf! (2007)
The Rameau Project (2009)
Brief Synopsis: a beautiful naked woman “of a certain age” brutally stabs a young man to death (2013)
NIGEL KELLAWAY (director/composer) In a career embracing his skills as an actor, director, dancer, musician and contemporary performance maker, Nigel Kellaway's initial professional performance training was in music, majoring in piano and composition at the universities of Melbourne and Adelaide. He was the first Australian actor to train with Tadashi Suzuki and his Suzuki Company Of Toga (1984-85) and also worked with butoh artists Min Tanaka and Kazuo Ohno in Tokyo. Over 35 years, he has created more than seventy full length theatre, dance and music works with companies including The Sydney Front, The One Extra Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Entr'acte, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Sidetrack Performance Group, Legs on the Wall, Ihos Contemporary Opera, the Australian Dance Theatre, Stalker, Calculated Risks Opera Productions, the Song Company, Splinters Theatre of Spectacle, Urban Theatre Projects and Stopera and for venues including Performance Space (NSW), the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (WA), The Royal Court Theatre (UK) and Centre Nationale de la Danse (France). In 1996 he co-founded with Annette Tesoriero The opera Project Inc. In1997 he was awarded the Rex Cramphorn Theatre Scholarship by the NSW Ministry for the Arts, and, in 2004, a senior artist's Fellowship by the Theatre Board of the Australia Council. Kellaway continues to work widely as a freelance director, performer and mentor.
KATHY COGILLis a dancer, actor, performance maker and teacher with a Diploma in Dance (Victorian College of the Arts,1984) and a Degree in Acting (NIDA,2001). As a performer, she worked and toured in Europe with Les Ballets C. de la B., Companie Vicente Saez (UADI), Robert Wilson, Diez y Diez Dansa (Madrid), Compania de Danca de Lisboa, Companie Julie Bogard and Random Scream. In Australia, she has performed with Urban Theatre Projects (THE LAST FREEWAY, Sydney Festival, 2008), Marregeku,(BURNING DAYLIGHT national tour, 2009), The Pacitti Company ( FINALE,Sydney 2008), Force Majeure, Australian Dance Theatre, Dance Exchange, Dance Works, Human Veins, The One Extra Company, Opera Australia and Ensemble Offspring. She created and performed INTERVIEW WITH WONDER WOMAN for Performance Space in 2005 and collaborated with film-maker Samuel James to create DESCONOCIDA, a short film based on this solo. She performed in Julie Anne Long’s NUNS’PICNIC and in Samuel James’ associated short film NUNS’ NIGHT OUT, with Force Majeure and The Song Company in TENEBRAE Part 1 & 2, in Narelle Benjamin’s OUT OF WATER and her short film ON A WING AND A PRAYER. She worked as Movement Director for Urban Theatre Projects' THE BURIED CITY for Sydney Festival 2012, and performed in Opera Australia's Handa production of LA TRAVIATA, and A MASKED BALL for Sydney Festival 2013. In 2014, she worked on THIS IS SO CONTEMPORARY at the AGNSW, and performed with Ensemble Offspring in CALLOPES’S NEST and THE SECRET NOISE. Kathy first performed with The opera Project in GLORIAS (2016).
Kellaway and Cogill intend to spend an intense 3 week residency on developing musical, textual and physical material for a new theatre work, THAT BODY OF WORK.
THAT BODY OF WORK will see two performers “of a certain age” waiting, wandering in a Beckett-like landscape, remembering/recalling snippets of content, searching for context – that “landscape” that comes into view when age is no longer such a terrifying mystery.
In this Bundanon residency we wish to further pursue this re-imaging of the Bach concerti as we trawl Cassavetes’ screenplay and our more recent explorations for the odd disjunctions of language and intention that arise between Geena Rowlands’ Gloria and the little boy. Glorias is a theatre work concentrating on two pianists and the voices and phyical presence of three exceptional female performers. Our dramaturgical concerns revolve around a certain splendour that can emerge from horrific circumstances. Bach and Cassavetes proffer an unlikely creative collision (culturally, aesthetically, thematically). The multiform theatre pieces Kellaway realizes as a composer, director, and collagist of texts are “scenic concerts” considering the interaction of complex spatial arrangements with musical and linguistic practices, bringing together languages (acting, music making, installation, light, poetry, song, dance, etc.) that can otherwise become disintegrated. For us composition (musical and theatrical) is, first and foremost, the shaping of time and the processes of perception. A particular musicality imprints itself on the aesthetics, meaning and perception of this work, providing dramaturgical, emotional and rhythmic drive. This is physical theatre exploring the discrete abstract qualities of dynamics, tempi, light and staging.