This multimedia operatic drama uses body and voice,
as well as projected image and elaborate costumes, to explore the
history of torture and personal suffering. The four performances
are part of the Platinum Section of Outfest 2005, a signature
showcase dedicated to films, videos, live performances and multimedia
works that defy boundaries.
"The Judas Cradle can only be described as a visually
stunning piece of work, which moves the senses and disturbs the
intellect. It invites the audience to question the very nature of
the human condition, the authority that is in operation to judge
and control us and how, as humans, we are so capable of subverting
this." (Giovanna Maria Casetta, Colchester Journal)
Athey performs with a barbaric torture device, also named the
Judas cradle, while undergoing an operatic inquisition from Snapper.
Forcing his body to transcend its confines, Athey pushes the limits
of endurance through artistic expression.
"Athey's voice spins around my taut string, greasing it up,
defining its space and pulling light in," says Snapper. "Our
trilling, nuzzling, beating phonography is a struggle between one
body disciplined and one body stretching to capacity."
The multilingual libretto is built from disparate sources, including
transcripts of Inquisition hearings, opera quotes, and Jean Genet's
closing statement of the witness from Prisoner of Love. Vocal techniques
include high-pitched duets, Mae West-inspired Debussy and spirit-induced
speaking in tongues.
Conceived and performed by Ron Athey and Juliana Snapper, with
live accompaniment and sound design by Amanda Piaseki, costume design
by Susan Mattheson, and video/supertitles by Cyril Kuhn. The
Judas Cradle was originally commissioned by Fierce! Festival
with support from Arts Council England.