SealsKin began as an investigation of an ancient Celtic myth about selkies – seals who turn into human beings. It springs from Director/Writer Nancy Black’s longstanding interest and research into children and trauma – their responses to crisis and loss, the survival tools they use, and the choices they make. In the myth a seal turns into a woman, has a family, then abandons them to return to the sea. In 2006 the company undertook an early creative development of the myth using mask and puppetry.
The project has since evolved into morFing. In 2009, with a grant from Arts Victoria, the company redeveloped the original concept in partnership with students from the Merrijig and Jamieson Primary Schools, Kazzum (London based children’s theatre) and ArtPlay. The production will take place outside a theatre – in a laneway or public thoroughfare. morFing centres around Heath, a troubled young boy on the run who finds himself in a crowd – the audience – listening to a hip hop artist. Other characters emerge including Heath’s long estranged father. Stories collide. Heath’s father rejects him cruelly, igniting the boy’s anger and pain. To journey through his grief Heath must place himself at the centre of a different story – one he creates. That story delivers unexpected challenges, and in confronting them, Heath begins to forge a better future. The performance uses hip hop, object theatre, robust physical comedy, puppetry and graffiti to tell its tale.
In October 2010 a short and final creative development took place, bringing together the many revisions that have occurred, and finalising a production approach.
DIRECTOR/SCRIPT COORDINATOR: Nancy Black
SET DESIGNER: Ben Cisterne, Bluebottle
SOUND & MUSIC COMPOSITION: Darrin Verhagen, Chris Vik
HIP HOP: Elf Tranzporter
GRAFFITI DESIGN: Hiro Tsuri
DIRECTOR OF PUPPETRY: Rod Primrose
PERFORMERS from 2009 & 2010: Christian Bagin, Syd Brisbane, Michelle Heaven, Aurora Kurth, Heath McIvor, Lana Schwarcz, Greg Stone.
Artists involved in 2006 development:
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Nancy Black
DESIGNER: Bryan Woltjen
COMPOSER & SOUND DESIGNER: Ben Grant
DIRECTOR OF PUPPETRY/PERFORMER: Rod Primrose
PERFORMERS: Mal Martin, Andrew McDougall, Heather Monk, Roslyn Oades, Lizz Talbot Lethlean
PRODUCER: Kay Jamieson
This development was assisted by :
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
All images and text © Black Hole Theatre