It's Still Her Voice 

An adaptation by the company of Jen Cocteau's 1928 play and Francis Poulenc's 1958 opera La Voix Humaine

THE FLYING NUN by BRAND X

March 4 -5, 2022

Producer & DIrector: Kate Gaul

Music Director: Antonio Fernandez

Performed by Karina Bailey (Soprano), Pollyanna Nowicki (Actor)

French Language Coach: Ammandine Elise

Surtitle Operator: Sarah Cherlin

Lighting Operator: Catherine Mai

Production Photography: Alex Vaughan

Production Videography: Syl Marie

Its Still Her Voice collides both Francis Poulenc’s 1958 operatic adaptation of Jean Cocteau's 1928 one-act play of La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice) and the play itself.

Opera and drama.  A singer.  An actor.  A piano. The telephone.  It’s Still Her Voice takes these works to identify how our lives are mediated; from emotions in need of an audience to the role of technology in intimate relationships.

 

This is immersive theatre. A masterclass in human despair.  A portrait of loneliness and, indeed, madness and melancholy.   The edgy atmosphere takes on a frisson of horror when a woman’s lover rings to tell her of their marriage next day. We are helpless against the rising force of her emotions, and ultimately complicit in her disintegration. She checks her mobile for updates and texts. Her response to the chiming noises when she gets a call is Pavlovian in its desperation. We see her deleting old photos and checking her Instagram feed. And the telephone isn’t her only addiction.

 

When our relationships are as much enabled as they are limited by technology, breaking up is hard to do.

“Camp and hysterical, yes – but also painfully and intimately moving. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?” The Telegraph

 

CONTENT WARNING

  • suicide

  • drug and alcohol abuse

Video by @sylmariephotography

"Siren Theatre Co’s production of “It’s Still Her Voice” perfectly illustrates that you don’t need an enormous budget, 100 lighting cues, complex set design and a giant space to achieve theatrical success. The heart of this production is its brilliant performances, provocative direction and musical excellence. This production deserves a second life, so that larger audiences have the opportunity to see it and basque in its fineness." Olivia Ruggierio, Theatre Travels

"Director Kate Gaul undertook a bold directorial study in the making of Its Still Her Voice at Brand X, March 2022. I found Kate's juxtaposition of the theatrical and operatic versions of Cocteau’s play to be utterly compelling and bold. Captivating performances were delivered by soprano Karina Bailey, actor Pollyanna Nowicki and accompanist Antonio Fernandez. There is immense potential in this exploration of music and drama which I hope comes to being in the future."  Andree Greenwell

Images by Alex Vaughan Photography

"Poulenc's La Voix Humaine approaches both story and form in an act of avant-garde hyperfocus - taking the melodrama of opera lirica down to a single moment, a woman's last phone call with her lover. She is alone on stage and strains against her desire in the audience's unbroken gaze. Kate Gaul's adaptation (Siren Theatre Co) works to a similar forward thrust, pairing the french soprano of Poulenc's opera with an English-speaking actor, to play out the anguish in a different space, and a sympathy is built in the hybrid form - the ubiquitous frustrated response to the phone dropping, the last ditch efforts for reconciliation. On stage, we see the voice and the humanity of Poulenc's The Human Voice, distinct from one another but operating in symphony to create a new work.

 

In the 21st century, this offering is something which opera needs, bucking the trend toward elitism in the form. It is important that the pure enjoyment of opera is not stifled by the sense that it can only be enjoyed by those who can afford to pay several hundreds for the privilege — as it is for theatre — just as it is important to remember that the beauty of good art need not rest upon replica roman columns which extend up and beyond the curve of the proscenium. The adaptation of It's Still Her Voice seeks to benefit both forms - the match of theatre to high quality live musical accompaniment and the drawing out of plot and character from musical pieces often enjoyed only in musical performance, extracted from their theatrical context. It is an endeavour which requires time and support in its development, to best explore the feminist underpinnings which unite the music of 1958 with the theatre of 2022."  Samuel Webster

Images by Alex Vaughan Photography

“It's always a delight to come to the end of a show and know that you will be thinking about it days later and this is what has happened after seeing 'It’s Still Her Voice' on Saturday. It was a beautiful and deceptively simple production that took us on an intriguing journey where not all questions were answered but that didn't mean you left unsatisfied. The entire bus ride home I spoke about it with the friend and we each picked up different things that made it a fuller story.  I'm so glad the theatres are reopening if it means I get to see more work like this. Would love to get the chance to see it again. “

"The combination of acting (spoken word) singing and music worked really well. I enjoyed that the keyboard player was conducting as well. Looking forward to seeing ‘Its Still Her Voice’ when it comes around again. Accessible, inspiring, entertaining!"

 

"Experimental robust adaptation"


"A sweet song of addiction and despair"


"Voices mesh in a theatrical and operatic delight"


"Intimate, original portrayal of a relationship's end" 


"Kate Gaul’s wizardry at work again!"


"Thanks for making interesting theatre accessible! I was privileged to be in the audience for a great production!”

Images by Alex Vaughan Photography

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Supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW