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Scenes from the End at the Tristan Bates Theatre

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 9th Dec 2016 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

Scenes from the End (c) Heloise Werner (3).jpg

Héloïse Werner

Indifferent, inhuman, inevitable!

How do you deal with grief? You will find it hard to express your feelings in a society in which most people will avoid the subject of death after quickly expressing their deepest sympathy. The subject is awkward and best to be avoided.

After successful appearances at this year’s Camden and Edinburgh festivals, this new one-woman opera, a collaboration of soprano Héloïse Werner, composer Jonathan Woolgar and director Emily Burns, explores the difficult themes of death and grief. The opera is divided into three parts, moving from the cosmic to the intimate: End of the Universe, End of Humanity and End of the Human Life. Using comic and tragic images to illustrate the end, Héloïse Werner's performance is complemented by quotes by Carl Sagan, T. S. Elliot and William Shakespeare that are projected against a wall.

Scenes from the End showcases Héloïse Werner's talents as both a singer and a performer. Accompanying herself with wooden claves and a small gong and using the impressive range of her vocal and acting skills, Héloïse Werner's character tries to come to terms with the feeling of loss. Often using only sounds because "words cannot express grief", Werner's voice conveys infinite pain and sadness but there are also more upbeat moments when the character laughs at the absurdity of life or takes a necessary break to gather strength, such as in the "Interlude Blues".

Jonathan Woolgar, BBC Young Composer 2010, who is responsible for music and  libretto, regularly works with Werner, who is fascinated by the idea of music as drama and enjoys experimenting with different genres and techniques.

An intriguing show on a difficult subject.

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 10th December 2016

Tristan Bates Theatre

1a Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP

Box office: 020 3841 6611

Running time: 45 minutes

Photograph provided by Chris Hislop.

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