Mermermer (2016)

“Witty, joyous and disconcerting, Mermermer blends the irreverent, absurd and everyday into a quirky style of comedic physical theatre… Unpredictable and mesmerising.” Eammon Kelly, The Australian

“Rubbing the body parts of high and low art, thoughts and trance-like action, deadpan and real, Lloyd and Gunn, moved as one fabulously linked form and the results were wildly varied and visually arresting; a sort of ‘don’t take yourself too seriously’ serious work ethic that I found hard to resist.” Gracia Haby, Fford Review

A collaboration with choreographer Jo Lloyd that oscillates between high art and entertainment. In a work about enduring friendship, we imagine we are the last two people on Earth and ask whether we would still be making performance with no audience except each other.

Mermermer revolves around ideas of melodrama, extinction, documentation and myth-making. We entertained several possible titles for the work including Reverie, Queens on a Rug, Queens Talking Shit on a Rug, In On It, Education Yes! and finally settled on Mermermer. MERMER is a brain response to a forensic science technique used to determine whether specific information is stored in the subject’s brain, otherwise known as ‘brain fingerprinting.’ In English, the term memoir comes directly from the French for memory, mémoire, a word that is derived from the Latin for the same memoria. Embedded in Latin’s memoria is the ancient Greek mérmeros, an offshoot of the Avestic Persian mermara, itself a derivative of the Indo-European for that which we think about but cannot grasp: mer-mer, “to vividly wonder,” “to be anxious,” “to exhaustingly ponder.” And of course, la mer is French for “the sea.” Mermermer is a phantasmagoria of a work, exploring saturation, augmented realities and the irresolvable tension created by the gap between live mediation, mediated non-fiction and melodrama. The interpretation is open to continual reassessment and the work itself is in perpetual flux as we find ways to function in and negotiate with the present.

Creation & Performance NICOLA GUNN and JO LLOYD
Costume Design SHIO OTANI
Lighting Design MATT ADEY

Mermermer was supported by Next Move for Chunky Move, Malthouse Theatre Residency Program, the City of Port Phillip through its Cultural Development Fund and the City of Melbourne. Photography by Gregory Lorenzutti.