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Updates from the 2011 Artistic DirectorElisabeth EastherSchools Review CompetitionReviews
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NZ Herald Review: Silver Stars at Auckland Town Hall

By - 5 Mar 2011
"Among the more unusual festival offerings is an Irish community theatre project that testifies to the extraordinary spiritual quality that seems to emerge whenever ordinary folk come together to sing."

By Paul Simei-Barton
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"The performance company Brokentalkers has assembled 10 gay men from all walks of life ranging in age from late-40s to mid-60s. Most of them have no previous stage experience but it's apparent that the men have been profoundly affected by their involvement in the show.

They carry themselves with an unforced solemnity that suggests a disciplined commitment to their craft and a shared purpose. The whole project speaks of group solidarity and the performers radiate an almost palpable feeling of inner tranquillity.

The production is the brainchild of Sean Millar - an acclaimed musician and songwriter who is regarded as one of the doyens of Ireland's alternative music scene.

His song-cycle draws on interviews that record the experiences of a robust generation who risked life and limb to participate in the earliest Gay Pride marches and went on to endure the full impact of the Aids epidemic.

But the presentation focuses on personal emotions and intimate memories that are neatly contextualised with black and white newsreel footage from the period. The mood is sombre and dignified with only the occasional intrusion of deadpan Irish humour.

One of the most moving recollections comes from a father who describes moving from furious rejection of his son to nursing his boy through the final stages of HIV.

The voices come to us in a fusion of choral work, spoken word performance, video projection and gently choreographed movement. All of which is enveloped in a hypnotically powerful soundscape generated by three cello players and Sean Millar on guitar and piano.

Most of the interviews are delivered in a straightforward conversational tone with the performers directly addressing the audience but one voice is distorted by an old-style microphone.

His words are fragments that merge with the rising vocal chorus and the haunting cello sounds to create a powerful evocation of the indefinable spirituality that lies at the heart of this remarkable production."


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