A dim laneway… turn a corner… A streetlamp splutters…through an unmarked door… Follow the sound…Tonight it’s live for today. Tomorrow is uncertain. This is the jagged world of Wasted Underground.
Wasted Underground is a unique performance piece that intertwines cabaret and opera and places it within a dark theatrical setting. Shifting between Sprechstimme (speech song) to cabaret to crooning to near-opera, it intertwines Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with “degenerate” cabaret pieces written by composers such as Eisler, Antony And The Johnsons, The Tigerlillies, Jacques Brel and Kurt Weil and contemporary Australian composers.
Wasted Underground is a theatrical event that collides Berlin in the 1920s with Australia in the 2000s. It reveals how a society in crisis can ultimately fuel an artistic, musical, and literary rebellion strong enough to shout, “something ugly is brewing!” The work is performed/co-created by ‘The Brothers Krum’- Sam and Reuben, piano played by Emma Lippa and is directed/co-created by Deborah Leiser-Moore.
Wasted Underground explores the nature of ‘boys in war’, using the tension between the “Brothers Krum” as a springboard from which to launch into a haunting and darkly humourous world of lost innocence where anything can happen. As the audience enter the space they are immediately thrown into a stark landscape filled with the memory of lost souls – fallen chairs, shirts, dog tags and gas masks - each a direct artery to a life that was. Sitting in the space, waiting, are two ‘men of war’- one a General, one cannon fodder - both wearing pigs heads. It is a landscape soon to be conquered by paper aeroplane missiles, banana lounges, smoking pipes, the echo of chattering plastic teeth, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and ‘degenerate’ cabaret pieces.
Ultimately, Wasted Underground centres around the relationship between these two men, teasing out the moments between the songs, seemingly slowing down time in order to probe into, and eventually unravel, the relationship between the ‘men of war’. Through the promise of glamour, adventure and excitement of war, Wasted Underground explores how innocence is corrupted, morals are plundered and, in turn, roles are reversed and the corrupter is betrayed by his system.
Throughout History but most emphatically in the rule of The Third Reich, certain pieces of art, literature, theatre and music were branded “Unsuitable For Public Consumption”… branded “DEGENERATE”. Our choice to use such pieces including, and providing a counterpoint to, the Pierrot exposes the overpowering realisation of their relevance to the current political and social climate. A world that breeds ‘decadent’, ‘degenerate’ and dangerous performance.
Placed within the highly peformative theatrical construct, Wasted Underground has found a ‘happy marriage’ between the seemingly vastly different musical styles and genres, thus creating a world where the inaccessible becomes accessible.
In the dark times
Will there also be singing......?