Sugarcandy Mountain (Live at Broadcast Bar) (2018)

*performed at ‘Paroxysm Tops it Off! Novel Edition’ hosted by Paroxysm Press, Adelaide Fringe, 18 February 2018.

Let’s face it, comrades – the luxuries you were promised during The Rebellion have all been abandoned by your so-called leader. I would assume that you’re all in desperate need of some guidance, so I stand before you here today with a solution.

I have a proposal for all of the animals who are gathered in secret here today. I ask, but do not request, that you consider putting your faith into The Land of Afterlife. For those of you who are unaware, the place I speak of is where animals go when they die, a place where we roam free without being subject to conflict or cruelty.

It’s the utopian land of perfection. Some of you may be able to picture it now: the abundance of food, the clear skies, the fresh air. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

Perhaps you’ll also find comfort in knowing that all of your labours on Earth will be rewarded to you with infinite leisure. That’s right, comrades, there is no work to be done here either. You shall rest from your tireless efforts for eternity.

What you experience here will become a distant memory if you maintain your belief, comrades. So during this time, do not allow your focus to be distracted from lies ahead of you. If anything, your faith should be growing stronger.

So for those who carry doubts (which I’m sure there are plenty of you who do), I’m confident that you’ll realise the true significance of this place sooner or later. It’s inevitable that you do. Whether we like to admit it or not, comrades, our spiritual beliefs instinctively come out of hiding during times of misfortune.

You’ll automatically place your trust into it when all else fails. After all, everyone needs some kind of reassurance in their life, a beacon of hope to save us all from what we fear. For many of you, this place is your light at the end of the tunnel.

So as you’re made to squalor under Napoleon’s reign, it’s important for you all to remember that your faith is the gateway to utopia. Allow that to sink in for a moment – your faith is the gateway to utopia. Remember that.

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An Echo, A Stain (2016)

*featured in the Cabaret Fringe theatre production of RAW: For we are young and free

Composed and performed by: Nicole O’Rielley and Tanner Muller
Movement assistance: Catherine Campbell and Kim Miaco

Through An Echo, A Stain, our intention was to present how movement and theatre could be merged into a seamless whole. It was a way for us to push theatre, and the production of RAW: For we are young and free, in a new direction. Climenhaga (2009, p. 2) describes this as the creation of a new form. ‘No longer [were] we telling a theatrical story through dance movement or playing out characters in a drama through physical action. The theatricality of the moment [was] enacted on the bodies of the performers [our]selves.’

We based a lot of our movements from Pina Bausch’s work and her methods of combining theatre and dance. Through the performance Cafè Müller (Artes, 2016) we were able to interpret how fluid motions of the body could be utilised to construct a story for the stage, without the use of dialogue. Artistically, it struck a cord for us, as some of the movements in Bausch’s piece were repurposed and expressed differently to fit within our means and our abilities.

While adapting to Bausch’s work, we also employed DeKoven and Ebrary’s (2006, p. 12-13) technique of repurposing a familiar object and ‘observe it as though [we had] never seen it before.’ To analyse it and focus on aspects some might disregard. ‘The whole purpose of this exercise is to sharpen [one’s] ability to observe, recall, and recreate sensory detail (Dekoven, Ebrary 2006, p. 12). As such, the table in our scene was used as a barrier to separate the couple and to prohibit them from connecting. For example, this was shown when we used a push/pull method at opposites ends of the table.

In spite of the song’s fluid, non-linear structure, we found to have more control over our destructive/flowing movements, as we observed and reacted to the music in a theatrical way. This allowed us to easily structure our movements around the song and ‘to get in touch with the original impulse behind the work, as well as the work itself’ (Landau 2000, p. 1184).

Additionally, I found the process of An Echo, A Stain to be gratifying. The ideas we expressed were valued as we recognised them as a contribution to the development and potential of the scene. Through a process of trial-and-error, we experimented with every idea and, if we found it would enhance the piece, embed it into the structure. Despite this, we maintained a clear direction, as were able to remain true to the scene’s intention and its place within the production.

References
Artes 2016, Pina Bausch-Café Müller (1978), video, YouTube, 24 Feburary, 18 June 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxiWlgzb7r4&gt;
Climenhaga, R 2009, Pina Bausch, Routledge, London; New York.
Dekoven, L & Ebrary, I 2006, Changing direction: a practical approach to directing actors in film and theatre, Focal Press, Amsterdam, Boston.
Landau, T 2000, ‘Source-Work, the Viewpoints and Composition: What are they?’ in The Harcourt Brace Anthology of Drama, W B Worthen (ed.), Boston: Thomson/Wadsworth, pp. 1182-1190.

Holy Spaces (Monologue) (2016)

*featured in the Cabaret Fringe theatre production of RAW: For we are young and free

I’m a man of all wars; I’ve seen it all. I’m not dead, or alive, nor does my spirit wander the earth. My friends carry bayonets in the trenches. My friends throw bombs out of planes. My friends drive the tanks. My friends have an AK-47 in their clenching fists. My friends live in holy spaces. My friends are sitting next to you. I consider myself to someone of significance to the community of survived veterans. I’m a representation, a personified figure of Australia at war.

The interesting thing to know about me is that without war, I don’t exist. In a way, it fuels me. It provides me with a purpose. Create world peace and my existence, whatever that may be, will fade away. I don’t fear that happening anytime soon. There will always be some form of conflict, no matter how little, between nations for generations to come.

As eventful as my time in the wars has been, I can no longer speak with full certainty. Every time a word is spoken from my mouth, I automatically question the credibility of it; even if what I say is one hundred per cent cemented in reality. That’s how we were taught. All opinions that didn’t abide by the sergeants were irrelevant and regarded as nothing more than complete garbage. Even if you were to say something reasonable like ‘a dog has four legs,’ and the sergeant thought otherwise, we were all to believe him. If he claimed ‘dogs have three, or even two legs,’ then that’s how many legs a dog would have.
War is everlasting. It’s part of who we are. It’s part of our history, it’s part of our present, it is part of our fu…world peace?

Sanity (2015)

tanner muller sanity theatre

*featured in Get Wired – UniSA’s Digital Performance Festival

View the Case Study of the show here

The production of Sanity utilises theatrical movement and imagery to portray how confinement can affect the mental state of a prisoner once they encounter the ‘outside world.’ The events occur inside the imagination of a killer psychopath, before they encounter death in an electric chair.

Director/Writer: Tanner Muller
Starring: Ella Heywood-Smith
Music: Sienna Perin
Make-Up Artist/Stage Manager: Belinda Martino
Film: James Brennan
Lighting: Cezanne Villanueva