"Hungry is fascinating theatre, a teasing of notions of Jewish ritual...it poses questions, is confident but not dogmatic in its philosophy, is aesthetically strenuous."
Pamela Payne, Sun Herald
"Leiser gives a well-defined and virtuosic physical performance."
Stephen Dunne, Sydney Morning Herald
Conceived, performed and cocreated by Australian physical theatre performer Deborah Leiser-Moore, Hungry explores Leiser-Moore's fascination with cultural and religious themes in a controversial performance piece that draws on the origins of theatre in ritual and on a contemporaneous spirit of protest and dissent.
It is based on her life growing up female and Jewish. The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Leiser has set created a performance set inside and around a gigantic, corrugated iron Torah the holy scroll that contains the laws of Jewish conduct a scroll that women are not allowed to touch.
The setting for Hungry is the Holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. The Torah scrolls opens to reveal a screen animated by images inspired by the mystical texts of the Kabbalah, and Deborah emerges as the embodiment of spiritually and culturally hungry Jewish women, seeking her place in the psychological and emotional space of Australia.
In an echo of contemporary attempts by women to be allowed into the priesthood, Hungry not only explores women's exclusion from religious ritual but also the way in which religion has made women subordinate. Deborah's desire spiritual satisfaction is only satiated through the practise of forbidden rituals and the humorous inversion of age-old taboos.
The musical score is composed by Elena Katz Chernin, and sung live by Australia's only female Cantor Janece Erman Cohen, images by computer artist Michael Strum and set by Tim Moore.
Hungry is the fourth collaboration between Deborah Leiser-Moore and director Tanya Gerstle. They first worked together during a script development workshop for Hungry, organised by Playworks. Then they created a short solo work Eve'n So presented at the Contemporary Performance Week 6, and later they worked together on Noroc for Death Defying Theatre (UTP).
IWPF, (extracts) Athens, Greece
Adelaide International Arts Festival
Performance Space, Sydney