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Writer Dan Spielman has collaborated with composer and sound designer Max Lyandvert, plus two visual artists and five performers, on Manna, an innovative performance driven by an aural theatre-scape.

‘What Max and I were excited about,’ says Spielman, ‘was the idea of working on an artwork that was ambiguous and open. I adore the theatre and I’ve been involved in it for my whole working life, but I think it’s no wonder a lot of people don’t go – too often with theatre we’re told what to think.’

‘We wanted to confess the technology of theatre, to put all the behind-the-scene stuff on stage, to liberate the audience for engagement and laying their own stories into the space.

‘It’s made up of poetic monologues, songs, hymns, abstract poetic dialogue ‘ it’s a very sonic landscape, created by the actors. There’s lots of sound equipment on the stage ‘ there’s microphones all over the place and everyone plays instruments.

‘The attention has been on creating a series of fragmented states,’ says Spielman, ‘rather than a fictional narrative. It’s looking at grief, but more in a communal sense than as a personal experience.’

‘Incorporating a lot of music has helped make it less intellectual,’ he says, ‘it wouldn’t have worked to just have the poetry. Music is a universal but subjective experience, so meanings are not as prescribed.’

Manna is the second production of Wharf 2LOUD, five works programmed throughout 2008 by Sydney Theatre Company Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett with an aim to approach theatre making from different angles.

Sydney Theatre Company
Wharf 2, Walsh Bay
June 27 ‘ July 12
Tickets: $20-$35, 9250 1777 or