As Anton Chekhov writes in his play, The Seagull, “we should show life neither as it is, nor as it should be, but as we see it in our dreams.”
And that is what Canadian-Australian poet and performance maker Talya Rubin has done.
Drawing upon her potent dream of skyscrapers, fiery zeppelins and museum dioramas led Rubin to develop of the solo work The Bluebird Mechanicals which will be on display at the Brisbane Festival in September 2019.
“It came originally out of a dream that I had…I woke up very taken by this dream in that it was extremely powerful, and the images wouldn’t leave me alone”.
As she began to unpack and dissect the meaning of her dream, she found parallels with Anton Chekhov’s play, The Seagull and the crash of the Hindenburg among other things.
Likening her work to a “wunderkammer” or a cabinet of curiosities from the 17th century, she said that the eclecticism of these distinct elements kept leading her to one core theme: climate change.
“At its heart, one of the key themes was really about climate change and being on the cusp of disaster” she said.
While Rubin’s “wunderkammer” takes the form of a natural history museum diorama on stage, Rubin uses immersive visual and sound design as well as the puppetry for which she is known to show how our climate is “hurtling towards disaster” similar to the Hindenburg in 1936.
Rubin’s approach shows climate change in a new light and explores our emotional connection to climate change rather than “hitting people over the head” with the message.
“I feel like that if we’re not able to feel the reality of the situation we’re in, if we cannot be in touch with our own grief, or our own emotions, or our own feeling of connection to this reality, then these things happen almost without us.”
While she has enjoyed making a work that has an emotional effect on audiences, she wants her audience leave “in some way transformed by what they saw”.
“Instead of it being sort of a semantic of climate change and, ‘Oh look how bad it is’, it’s kind of becomes a more human struggle and it becomes a quite human story.”
The Bluebird Mechanicals will be at the Theatre Republic at The Brisbane Festival from 17th to 21st September 2019. Tickets available here.
Image Credit: Samuel James