Between worlds

Naree Vachananda, Opposite My House is a Funeral Parlour

Naree Vachananda

Naree Vachananda

Naree Vachananda

Born in Bangkok, a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (1997), explorer of Butoh and Ideokinesis, Naree Vachananda is about to premiere Opposite My House is a Funeral Parlour. On September 11, 2001, writes Vachananda, “My sister, who works in downtown New York, just got out of the subway when she saw people flocking in the street. When she got up to her office with windows facing south, she saw the twin towers collapsing right in front of her eyes. When I spoke to her on the phone, she joked, ‘It’s just like looking at the funeral parlour.’”

At the time Vachananda lived in Fitzroy, on Moor Street opposite a derelict funeral parlour with a for-sale sign that read: “Revive the corpse!”. She also discovered that there was a coffin warehouse next to the parlour and that the coffin-maker used to live in her own house. She started a diary: “The result was not so much an emotional journey as a visual diary written in words.” She was also inspired by poet Jenny Joseph’s Persephone (Bloodaxe, 1986) and decided to create a dancework about mortality. “I looked at various streams of Buddhist thought–to my surprise, one link led me to quantum physics, another to the cyclic flow of life and death as parallel to the myth of Persephone. I chose these 2 ideas as the structural theme of the work.”

The work has been created in collaboration with sound composer Edward Kelly, the sonic component comprising a mix of the performer’s diary, Joseph’s poems and Kelly’s own compositions. With the support of Dancehouse’s Space Grant program, Yeap Heng Shen worked on the visual multimedia component. Vachananda says that a key visual image, among others drawn from Joseph’s poems, is of a train on a journey to an unknown destination. With 2 screens, one at each end of the performance space and the audience facing each other, Vachananda and her collaborators will evoke destinations both in our own world and the underworld. Opposite My House is a Funeral Parlour merges local reflections and metaphysical musings in what looks to be an intriguing multimedia performance. RT

Naree Vachananda, Opposite My House is a Funeral Parlour, fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne; June 9-12; bookings 03 9662 996

RealTime issue #67 June-July 2005 pg.

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 June 2005