The Mayfly Project

Article by Cassandra Ramsay @cassramsay

Nathan Harrison and Jake Pember taking their time

Time. There’s a thought. A big overwhelming thought that can go running off into a million directions. Theatre maker Nathan Harrison and composer Jake Pember have taken these thoughts and will and channelled them into The Mayfly Project, a performance all about time at this year’s Crack Theatre Festival.

mayfly floor

The idea started with a notion to build a clock on stage and play generative music, utilising the sounds of the clock. The questions about time snowballed from there.

“After a while we came across the idea of a mayfly, whose adult lifespan could only last as long as the show we performed” says Nathan. That image kicked off most of what is currently in the show.”

Nathan describes the show as “part lecture, part storytelling, and part sound experiment.”

“We want to look at different spans of time and ask how we, as a society, can being to engage in more long-term thinking.”

Although Nathan and Jake have been friends for a long time, this is the first project they’ve collaborated on together. Whole Nathan has looked into the lecture and storytelling components of the work, Jake has taken over all things sound related.

Nathan brags that his collaborator “wrote his thesis on exomusicology, which included composing an album of music derived from planetary orbits. He’s also very good at making engaging interactive components to the music, which we’ve been playing with.” And of course Jake’s knowledge on astrology and time has been useful throughout.

As well as spending time researching and planning, the pair’s exciting ideas where tested out during a short residency in the Performance Space, Sydney.

At Crack Theatre Festival the duo are hoping to discover what ideas from the piece are still working, and push forward to the next stage.

You can visit the project’s site at to find out more and stay up to date with the project.

Where will it go after its stint at Crack Theatre Festival 2013? Only time will tell.