Image: Samuel James
The Bluebird Mechanicals is a visionary new solo work about Chekov, climate change and the end of the world. It weaves together a series of seemingly disparate elements together into a devastating climax: Kostya’s ghost in the aftermath of Chekov’s The Seagull, the final fiery flight of the Hindenburg, and the omniscience of birds.
The experience unfolds inside a natural history museum diorama playing space enveloped by intricate, immersive visual and sound design. The work blurs the line between the real and the imagined, the animate and the inanimate, and employs the uncanny and automata, using taxidermy animals, wind-up toys and filmed miniature worlds.
“A portent of disaster” is at the centre of The Bluebird Mechanicals with the Hindenburg as a symbol for the excess of our contemporary times. Throughout, the performer sits with objects such as bird figurines and an enormous fish, until they begin to speak. A woman stands outside it all in a portrait studio, commenting on history, memory and our inability to listen. Cumulatively, the fragments point towards the potential disaster we are heading towards climate change.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. The Bluebird Mechanicals has been developed, in part, through The Collaborations, an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre. Too Close to the Sun acknowledges the support of the Theatre Arts Residency program at The Banff Centre. This work was assisted through HotHouse Theatre’s A Month in the Country residential program, a project delivered in partnership with Albury City. The Bluebird Mechanicals was first developed through Metro Arts, Brisbane.
Assistance has also been provided by: Arts NSW, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, and The Rex Cramphorn Studio, Sydney University.
Original Concept, Performer, Writer, Co-devisor, Visual Design: Talya Rubin
Co-devisor, director: Nick James
Sound Design: Hayley Forward
Lighting Design: Richard Vabre
Set Consultant: Corinne Merrel
Puppet Designer/Builder: Bryony Anderson
Video Artist: Sam James
Metro Arts, Brisbane, 7-16 September 2017
The Block, QUT Kelvin Grove, Brisbane Festival 17-21 September 2019
2016: The Banff Centre, Production Residency, Banff, Canada
2014: Metro Arts, Brisbane – Shortfuse Residency
2014: HotHouse Theatre – ‘A Month in the Country’, Albury, NSW – Residency
2014: Playwrights’ Workshop, Montreal, Canada – Creative Development
2014: Rex Cramphorn Studio, Sydney University – Creative Development