Amazon, a new commission presented by Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta, has been created by composer Alex Ho and theatre-maker Elayce Ismail, joining forces for the first time.
The two artists have never met in person, and before lockdown neither had used Zoom. Amazon is the result of their virtual meeting, and the consequent sharing of lives and ideas. It is available online now.
The digital work is part of Homemakers, a series of commissions inviting artists to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. The series is produced by Home, Manchester’s centre for international contemporary culture.
The theme of the piece is a trip to the Amazon that takes an unexpected turn. The two artists have made a short piece of music theatre that combines music, text and visuals in a reflection on the world we find ourselves in.
Michael McCarthy, artistic director of Music Theatre Wales, commented: “Commissioning artists to create new art for the current circumstances is a really positive thing to do and gives us an opportunity to develop our performance work on alternative platforms.
“Responding to the challenge to create something entirely made from home, Alex and Elayce have come up with a piece of digital music theatre that, while emerging from the moment we have found ourselves in, transcends the four walls within which it has been made to take a global view.”
The commissions are fully funded and offer an opportunity for ground-breaking artists to challenge the definition of live performance, whether through live streaming, recordings, games, interactive stories, personal encounters, or something completely different.
“Right now we should have been touring our latest commissioned opera, Violet by Tom Coult and Alice Birch,” McCarthy continued. “This was due to receive its world premiere as part of the Aldeburgh Festival, followed by a tour in Wales and England and further performances in Germany. We are now planning to launch the production in April 2021, and have every hope that this will be possible.”
Amazon can be viewed anytime on the Home website. Tickets are available on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, with a suggested price of £10. Money raised from ticket sales will be split evenly, with 50% going directly to the artists and 50% to Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta’s response fund to allow them to continue to support future artists and commissions.
Despite never having met in person, theatre-maker Elayce Ismail (left) and composer Alex Ho (right) have written Amazon, a new music theatre work created in their homes.