A flexible multi-artform project inspired by The Love of Three Oranges the comic-absurdist opera by Sergei Prokofiev
Over three years For the Love of an Orange spanned short films, large and small performance installations, a durational edible food performance, and a comic object theatre show. Inspired by the comic-absurdist opera by composer Sergei Prokofiev The Love of Three Oranges with each new iteration we developed and honed our investigation of the characters and our symbolic storytelling.
The Hypochondriac Prince and his manservant are locked in a fatalistic fairytale-esque search to find a Princess trapped inside an orange. Their relationship oscillates between one of child-like brotherly love, to domination, dependence, service, and obsession. They control and fulfil each other until the looming destiny that maturity and manhood brings, unleashes chaos and competition into their once repetitive and clinical world. Like the warring brothers of mythology, they turn on and transform each other - preferring the intangible unknown to the comfortable routine that stifles them.
The Love of 57 Oranges
Sept 22 - Sept 23 2015
World Puppetry Festival
Two puppeteers embark on a serious retelling of Prokofiev's absurdist opera "The Love for Three Oranges" armed with a bucket of oranges, two knives and a packet of toothpicks.
Created in collaboration with - Stéphane Georis
Performed by Michael Bevitt & Beth McMahon
Object Theatre residence with Stéphane Georis
July 1 - 10 2015
Vevy Wéron, Belgium
Under the direction of Stéphane's razor-sharp eye and detailed wit, For the Love of an Orange entered a new and unexpected phase. So different from everything we've done before that the work we developed together has become a new project - The Love of 57 Oranges.
Stripped of scenography, together we examined the source text and explored the characters in full archetype glory. The resulting performance was part fairytale, part battle of the sexes but still a quest for love.
June 22 2015
Makers Exhibition, Curated by Rebekka A. Ingimundardóttir
A 4 hour food journey through the landscapes of Prokofiev's opera. The Princess becomes the desert; her life sustained by an intricate system of water tanks, and machinery. The obsessive attentions of the Prince lead to her destruction, and the ultimate surrender of the Prince himself. Undressed, shaven, and submissive, the Prince takes her place in the landscape. The performance concluded with a spontaneous cocktail party of black orange juice, chips, and Vegemite.
Where the Wild Things Sing:
an urban puppet safari
Jan - Feb 2015
Presented by Black Hole Theatre in association with
SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival
A family-friendly short performance featuring a 1000L tank of water and a magic orange potion gone wrong. A submerged puppeteer performed underwater shadow puppetry while above the surface the Prince was transformed into a grotesque half-human half-rat beast.
Performed in the Melbourne Recital Centre carpark, this site-specific work incorporated an avenue of glowing potion jars, a 1.2m inflatable orange slice, a giant bib, two musicians and real, live opera.
This is Not Art. (TiNA) / Crack Theatre Festival
Setting the Stages / Victoria
Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts
An hour-long installation incorporating live performance, 2x1000L tanks of water, a bedroom that rained mist, 50 kilos of oranges, and a 60 minute abstract film. The Crack iteration focused on developing the relationship between the two male performers. How they control, dominate and seek to fulfil each other while searching for the elusive Princess. The performance installation was choreographed to a complex and atmospheric soundtrack featuring Prokofiev's opera mixed with original music by experimental electronica group The Vainglories.
Into the Black Hole
Presented by Black Hole Theatre / La Mama Explorations Series
La Mama Theatre, Carlton
In a 1000L tank of water, the Prince attempts to transform a rat into the Princess, but becomes a rat himself. Featuring instrumental music from Prokofiev's opera, a choreographed synchronised-swimming routine, and submerged puppeteer.
The Hypochondriac Prince
Short Film / Creative Development
The film is short and frenetic, inspired by the rhythm of a panic attack. This confused, frantic nature is depicted in images of the Prince with four arms. Medicated 'powders' take on extreme proportions, and once his medication is swallowed the Prince's perception shifts. He becomes a grotesque of himself seen through the use of hats, rat parts, and a suffocating gasmask. His doctor is represented by the figure holding multiple bags. Multiple visits, multiple attempts to calm and 'heal' the Prince. The final figure holds an orange, and it is through the violent, desperate act of eating the orange (our agent of change) that the Prince finds release (the removal of his heart - religious ecstasy), and happiness (the rat / Princess - united in bed together). The orange quite literally provides the light at the end of the tunnel.
City of Darebin Speakeasy Program
Northcote Town Hall
This short, abstract film explores Princess Ninette and her liberation from the orange in which she is trapped. The music in the film is "The Prince and the Princess" from Prokofiev's opera The Love for Three Oranges. In the film, we see oranges being smashed to create juice before the screen is washed clean. The juice is retained and becomes a large jelly containing the Princess who is here a wax doll. The jelly melts, freeing the Princess who briefly becomes animated. The screen is washed clean again before we see the Princess engulfed in flames. She has been liberated from the orange jelly only to surrender to the flames.