Inside Crack #3 – Ether

article written by: Cassandra Ramsay

ETHER by Murmur Collective
The process, performance and redevelopment from Melbourne Fringe

A true experiment in devising, Murmur Collective is bringing their highly evocative new performative work Ether to the Newcastle Baths.

Murmur Collective are a Melbourne-based collective comprised of carpenters, photographers, designers, actors, and musicians, including Artistic Director, and co-founder, Devon Taylor.

“We use non-traditional narrative techniques, atypical performance spaces and merge artists’ mediums” says Devon. “Ritual, repetition, form and the human experience stimulate my artistic outlook, and with Ether I am attempting to develop a unique voice and explore these platforms”

Five years ago Devon lost a child born of twins. As her son grew, the question was raised of whether or not he had any innate sense of his sister, having never known her except in utero.

Devon took this question to the collective and began a long research investigating twin stories. The first part of the process involved interviewing community friends, colleagues, strangers, community organisations, and of course twins and parents of twins.

“As our cultural norms adapt… IVF, fertility issues and multiple births are becoming more common. The in-utero death of a twin is more frequent that previously” found Devon.

The key devisors (Devon and producer/writer/circus performer Naomi Francis) also collected images, objects and sounds, and threw them together of the floor, experimenting with narrative while trying to explore themes of identity and self.

In 2012, the show was staged at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. “We had very responsive audiences… [it was] extremely intimate and confronting for bother performer and viewer.” ether

Redeveloping the work for Crack Theatre Festival, Murmur Collective are hoping to continue the experimentation in their process; one of the bigger experiments is replacing the giant pile of sand as they key set element, and instead moving the work outdoors to the beach.

“We’re also excited to be bringing Jason Maher on board with this re-development” says Devon. “We’re teaming up to develop a LED based lighting car batteries to power both lights and stereo, head torches, glow sticks and some other forms of alternative illumination.”

Ether is sure to be a highlight of Crack Theatre Festival this year.