31 May, 2022 //

Beside the Sea

‘Beside The Sea’ is an ambitious and innovative work of music theatre for violinist, soundtrack and found objects that will explore ideas around memory, personhood and how to evoke a life and its trajectory through music.

Based on the composer’s father’s long battle with Alzheimer’s, the goal is a work of art which examines how much of a role memory has in making a person and what part music can also have in that.

The work has been made in cooperation with violinist and long-time collaborator Dušica Mladenović, and involves theatre director Olivia Songer and designer Jack Scullion.

According to Ian Wilson ‘An onstage frame, within which Dušica will play, holds objects relating to my father’s life – he was an engineer, a singer, and a sailor; the sailing and related objects will be metaphors for the journey through Alzheimer’s. The disintegrative power of Alzheimer’s will be another ‘character’ in the work – a vital element that will universalize the experience of the work for the audience, having things gradually dissolve before their eyes and ears. The work uses the frame-objects as points of focus and some of these will end up outside the frame as the work progresses – mislaid, lost, forgotten – mirroring the mind’s journey through Alzheimer’s.

A soundtrack created by sound designer Stephen McCourt is an integral element and will contain processed & unprocessed sounds based on (e.g.) the sound of my father’s old guitar, recordings of his choir, sounds of boats/the sea which he loved, etc. The violinist will ‘play’ some of these frame-objects so they become tangible elements in the work. Musically, the work will follow the same path as the staging – a gradual thinning-out of material which will be inspired by ideas around living, ageing, disappearing, and – somehow – remaining. ‘Beside the sea’ is a universal story of changing minds and bodies, of ageing, using elements of my father’s life as found objects around which the narrative will be built. Even towards the end of the piece, when everything has been utterly changed, there will still be moments of light and joy.

Perspectives will alter, but the soloist will maintain her musically kaleidoscopic role as subject, observer, even caregiver. The work’s title is multi-faceted and ambivalent, referencing musical, physical, temporal, and cognitive domains’.

Presented by IRW Productions with the kind support of the Arts Council of Ireland
Duration: 50 mins. One interval
Suitable For All Ages 

Kindly Supported by Arts Council Ireland