"Kitten – a bi-polar soap trip – opera A drama in three acts: from tragic, to manic, to sonic
The tale of a Contemporary Icarus.” Kitten’s husband Jonah has disappeared. Kitten is overwhelmed with grief and guilt. She plummets. She wants to die. Kitten finds herself on the edge of herself and literally on the edge of a cliff, dreading what she might find. From this darkest place of pain Kitten struggles to speak – to find a language to express what feels inexpressible to her.
A battle ensues between Kitten’s destructive and creative impulses. Manfred Jonah’s friend and rival, whose feelings for Kitten have no doubt contributed to the husband’s suicide, struggles to manage the desperate and difficult situation he finds himself in. He is in love with his best friend’s wife. His friend has disappeared. No body has been found, and Kitten is losing control.
What can he do? The shock of the suicide has caused a major downward spiral in Kitten. From the depths of despair, she finally tunes in and discovers what her husband has been working on.
She literally begins to ‘listen’ again and discovers the power of the natural world. It is from here that her new path begins. Her mood swings upwards as she develops a wild hope that he is still alive and an extraordinary plan to rescue him. She begins to soar like a contemporary Icarus into a full blown mania, which finally culminates in a spectacular and psychotic crash landing. Once again Kitten is reduced to nothing. And from her hospital bed, she very slowly begins to rediscover her lost ability to sing….
Kitten asks three questions:
1. How do we deal with suicide?
2. How do we deal with insanity?
3. What is our relationship with the natural world?
And proposes three answers:
1. The human imagination can be a powerful, healing force.
2. To find language or expression is a necessity for healthy survival.
3. We benefit from remaining in tune with and protecting the natural world.
The play looks at two people struggling with these increasingly frequent yet still socially taboo areas. Because Bi Polar Disorder is an illness that causes a disregard for the normal emotional boundaries, Kitten’s character is intended as a kind of ‘emotional shaman’ for the audience, taking them on a roller coaster ride, to extremes they may seldom contemplate.
A journey against which they may measure their sanity. The play is also tracking our organic connectedness to the natural world, and exploring the way the natural world gives expression to and communicates through a variety of intelligences.
The play attempts to capture the Bi-Polar experience in it’s form as well as content. This is achieved by the externalising of the internal experience of Kitten. This is further augmented by the character of Kitten being played by three performers.
Cast: Margaret Mills, Natasha Herbert, Kate Kendall, Chris Connelly.
Writer/Director: Jenny Kemp.
Composition/Direction: Darrin Verhagen
Design: Anna Tregloan
Choreography: Helen Herbertson.
Lighting Designer: Niklas Pajanti