Tag Archives: Molly Planet

14. Update

Screenshot of Chris singing an excerpt from her composition for Muriel Rukeyser's The Speed of Darkness

Chris sings The Speed of Darkness (screenshot)

O yay! ‘ScOtt WaLkEr meet MuRieL RukEyseR’ is out, the next episode of Christine White’s series about her Throat of These Hours composition process. Excited by Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch Chris asks: What can I see as linkages that lead me to want to reference my discovery of Walker with my discovery of Muriel? Then explores the linkages under three headings: Form, Silence and Viscerality. Check it out here. I’m so blessed to have a composer alongside me, whose work I love and with ideas that stimulate and challenge me!

And, last week editor John Conly, DOP Jess Charlton and I worked on clips to accompany some posts that Chris and I are going to do for the Muriel Rukeyser Living Archive. Coming soon. Exciting!

Also on the way, Muriel’s never-published novel, Savage Coast, from The Feminist Press.

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And, at last, I’m about to start the next draft of Throat of These Hours. Scary, but I can’t wait. A big thank you for the inspiring feedback so far, from all over the place. Alongside Chris’ work, the wonderful support from John and Jess, and generous ongoing responses from my daily writing buddy, the feedback helps me to breathe more fully and to go deeper.

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13. Christine White’s “I will bE sTiLL maKing” – MuriEL RuKyeSer

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It’s out! Chris has written the first of two posts about her composition process for Throat of These Hours. A treat. Here’s one excerpt I love.

So here is the initial sound palette:

1. Voice – the title of the play gives it away – Throat of These Hours – and Muriel’s question in the context of her poem – “Who will be the throat of these hours?”. The play explores two women who, for various reasons have struggled with their art-making…Meredith has long since given up on writing poetry, and Tina is trying to discover her own voice through following the writings of Muriel and setting them to music.

The throat – the sounds of the throat can be many and varied…and can communicate a variety of emotions – the feeling of constriction, of not being able to speak/communicate – throat clearing, trying to make a way through obstacles.

Even the act of sighing and iterations of the breath can give signals as to the state of mind of the communicator – the body in the act of communicating, or trying to…

As this is a central theme in the play, and seemed to be a theme in Muriel’s own writings, I thought it is an obvious instrument. Its use in the presentation recording isn’t as subtle as it could be in the context of the whole play.

I think now of the film The Sixth Sense, and in watching a documentary about the film. In terms of sound design, the breath was used in layers – many many layers…human breath, animal breath – sometimes pitch shifted and slowed down – always running almost as if in the subconscious of the film – creating an undercurrent signal of the afterlife.

You can check out the fascinating rest of the post over here, on Chris’ blog MOLLY PLANET  RAW FOOD – RAW SOUND [discoveries and experiments] And her second post will be about influences…

10. Christine White’s ‘Water, Water, Water’

It’s ace to work with Christine White, the Throat of These Hours composer, because her work makes me re-hear Muriel Rukeyser’s poems. It also enhances the play, helps me explore ideas about the connections between poems and theatre and when a play becomes a musical. And it was a beautiful surprise when Chris sent me a link to what she’d written about Kathleen Gallagher’s film Water Whisperers Tangaroa (see also 7. Kathleen Gallagher – Poet, playwright, filmmaker).   Here’s the beginning of her post, with a link to the rest on her blog, MOLLY PLANET: RAW FOOD – RAW SOUND [discoveries and experiments]. Many thanks, Chris!

Water, Water, Water

Headman Mark Franco Winneman Wintu, North America

“It’s almost like if you want to put a tourniquet on your arm, that’s what
you’re doing with these dams, you’re putting tourniquet on your arm, and
then your fingers die – and you wonder why your finger’s died. It died
because you cut off the flow of blood. Water is like the blood in our
body…the water is the blood of Mother Earth. You cannot do these
things to it.”

– from Water Whisperers / Tangaroa (WickCandle Film – www.wickcandle.co.nz).

Mike O’Donnell Sculptor, Potter

“Ohinemuri was called a designated sludge canal once. It was so tragic that
everything got dumped in it – all the mining stuff, cyanide waste, the
community dumped its’ waste. It dumped its sewerage. That was the
attitude you know – this attitude we have inherited. On Sundays they
would stop the mine and they would all go to church. And then on Mondays
they would open the mine back up – and the old people would see
thousands of mullet and fish swimming with their heads out of the water
’cause they couldn’t swim in Ohinemuri any more. It was deoxygenated
from the cyanide. And I remember Uncle Tiki Rakana just saying it just
made us wonder about their spirituality. They go to church on Sunday,
and then they destroyed the water of Mother Earth, of Papatuanuku – they
destroy it on Monday.”

– from Water Whisperers / Tangaroa (WickCandle Film – www.wickcandle.co.nz).

I am lucky enough to be involved in a composition project with film-maker/playwright Marian Evans (http://wellywoodwoman.blogspot.co.nz/), in which the poems of Muriel Rukeyser are to be set to music. These will be  performed in the context of a play which explores the dynamics of three women in Aotearoa/New Zealand and examines issues of water conservation, health, and the experiences of creative women in finding/expressing their own voice.

Rukeyser (1913-1980) was a poet, feminist, bisexual, activist, Jewish woman from New York. I’m not very good at describing writing but her poems have stood out to me because of their confronting nature and honesty, particularly for the era she was writing in. I am inspired by her activism and also feel a closeness because of my visit to New York last year – it is a place that gets under the skin for sure.

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