UNHEIMLICH to premiere at PICA

PICA-UNHEIMLICH-Tarryn-Gill-Katt-Osborne-photo-by-Duncan-WrightConjuring fantastical imagery from the recesses of the human mind, UNHEIMLICH is a thrilling new performance work by director and The Last Great Hunt alumni Katt Osborne and multidisciplinary artist Tarryn Gill.

Dip into the darkly-comic dream state where a house-cat will be your guide. Join our happy couple on this journey where dreams and memories merge into reality and our shadow selves come out to play.

Child-like games take on a deeper significance, jokes are wielded as weapons, and masks slip to reveal things that were intended to remain out of sight.

Meaning un-homely/uncanny, “unheimlich” is a Freudian term to describe a feeling where the familiar can quickly become strange or frightening. An ongoing reference in Gill’s practice.

Gill undertook a residency at the Freud Museum London in 2013. This new live performance is a unique collaboration by two of Western Australia’s celebrated and prominent mid-career artists.

Drawing inspiration from Gill’s acclaimed Guardians series of sound-emitting soft sculptures, UNHEIMLICH features a wondrous set of her life-sized creations, a series of beautiful and intricate hand-made masks, which can cry and shed tears of light.

Woven on stage with Osborne’s directorial talents, the masks are worn and animated by an ensemble of actors and dancers.

“I’ve developed the masks using materials I use to make my soft sculptures – foam and handstitched fabrics then building in lighting and sound technologies,”said Gill. “It’s incredible seeing them come to life, moving in space with the live performers.”

This ambitious, multi-faceted work has been in development since 2017 and is poised for its world premiere from 22 September 2021. Commissioned by PICA, UNHEIMLICH is the unmissable chance to witness a group of stellar WA artists at the top of their game.

“We are excited to unveil this new West Australian work and the meeting of Tarryn’s and Katt’s practicesm” said PICA Producer Tim Carter. “With PICA’s role to support interdisciplinary work, UNHEIMLICH is an opportunity for audiences to experience a mesmerising feast of art forms coming together – sculpture, puppetry, sound and live performance.”

“PICA offers acareer-defining moments and this is undoubtedly an iconic moment in Katt’s and Tarryn’s careers,” says Carter.

UNHEIMLICH is also a timely response to current conversations on gender equality, charting the rise and fall of a couple to explore the psychology of heterosexual relationships. Within the world of the theatre, audiences enter a dream-like state between the conscious and unconscious and reflect on the lifespan of this relationship.

“A relationship is a mirror and to be in in a relationship is to be confronted by yourself and parts of yourself you don’t know exist,” said Gill.

UNHEIMLICH is being made amidst the ongoing pandemic, which is proving to be a moment in local history when the state is celebrating its homegrown artistic riches.

A co-presentation by PICA and Performing Lines WA, whose recent presentation of Whale Fall (PICA) at Perth Festival was smash hit with a season of sell out shows, whilst Performing Lines latest work on runaway success Minneapolis (PLWA) demonstrates both PICA’s and PLWA’s commitment towards championing WA contemporary performance.

Works of scale like this are strengthened with significant partner investment and UNHEIMLICH is supported by both the State Government’s WA Theatre Development Initiative and PICA’s Art Commissioners. A marvel of collaboration and artistic rigour and sure to be one of the most talked about arts experiences in Perth this year.

Director: Katt Osborne | Featuring: Brendan Ewing, Jacob Lehrer, Sarah Nelson, Rachel Arianne Ogle | Voiceover: Igor Sas | Understudy: Jo Morris | Masks, Puppets & Sculptures: Tarryn Gill | Set and Costume Design: Laura Heffernan | Lighting Design: Joe Lui | Sound Design and Additional Composition: Brett Smith | LED Artist: Steve Berrick | Production Manager: Liam Murray | Stage Manager: Isabella Taylor | Sound Technician: Jeremy Turner | Creators: Tarryn Gill, Katt Osborne | Text & Dramaturgy: Theo Costantino

PICA – Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, 51 James Street, Perth
Season: 23 September – 2 October 2021 (preview: 22 September)
Information and Bookings: www.pica.org.au

Image: Tarryn Gill & Katt Osborne – photo by Duncan Wright