Lay Hold to the Softest Throat
Mixed Mystery and Vibrations
Lay Hold to the Softest Throat is the Shakespearean-sounding title of a choreography for voice with three performers, an affirmation of Ellen Furey’s interest in everything that emanates from the throat. Whether it’s a surreal text, a siren song, or a nasal voice, all things coexist in the harmony of dissonance, sidesteppping the logic of meaning, and together generating a space of quivering care.
By reviving director Jerzy Grotowski’s “holy actor,” a figure she heckles tenderly, Furey has some serious fun bringing together all the values and qualities she considers sacred, disparate though they may be. Lay Hold to the Softest Throat is lyrical communion, it is childlike play in adult bodies, it is cardboard props, committed physicality, medieval deities in 80s wigs…. The show is a mysteriously vibrant journey, guaranteed!
Produced by Ellen Furey
Choreographed and performed by Ellen Furey
Created with and performed by Romy Lightman + Alanna Stuart
Text Ellen Furey + Romy Lightman + Alanna Stuart
Sound Design Christopher Willes
Dramaturgy Hanako Hoshimi-Caines
Lighting Design Paul Chambers
Set Design Jeremy McCormick
Outside Eye Anni Spadafora
Technique Anthony Allan
Songs We’ll Reach the Sky Tonight, Rita MacNeil + Take My Word, Ellen Furey
Surtitles translation Elaine Normandeau
Surtitles Operator Aris Keshav
Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines + DLD direction artistique Frédérick Gravel
With the support of La Nouvelle Scène (Ottawa) + Usine C + Cape Breton University
Creative residencies Annexe-A (Rouyn-Noranda) + L’Écart (Rouyn-Noranda) + Usine C + Studio 303 + Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique + CCOV – Centre de Création O Vertigo + La Nouvelle Scène (Ottawa)
Co-presented by La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines
Premiered at Festival TransAmériques at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines, on May 28, 2023
Written by Enora Rivière
Translated by Katia Grubisic
About the artist
Ellen Furey (Montreal)
Canadian choreographer Ellen Furey left Cape Breton to study dance, voice, and theatre in Toronto before moving to Montreal in 2010. She has since had an extensive career as a contemporary dancer while developing her own work and experimenting with collaborative ways of making.
In 2006, Furey came across the work of Jerzy Grotowski and ventured to Poland to attend classes at his Institute. The director’s written work had a profound effect on her imagination. Here, she revisits his seminal book Towards a Poor Theatre, only to trace back all the ways she misunderstood its implications the first time around.
Drawing on the experience of her two previous projects, SOFTLAMP.autonomies and High Bed Lower Castle (FTA, 2022), created with Malik Nashad Sharpe, Lay Hold to the Softest Throat is an opportunity for Furey to create her own work while deepening her collaborative ways of working, which she holds above all as a relationship of curiosity and expansion. Everything she seems to do involves a reflection on relational dynamics in the creative process. In Lay Hold to the Softest Throat, she invites Alanna Stuart and Romy Lightman — singers and musicians with extremely different creative registers — to inhabit a world of play with her. Ellen Furey is currently one of the creators at the company DLD – Daniel Léveillé Danse.
“Furey and Sharpe are talented performers both as vocalists and as dancers.”
Rachel Levine, Montreal Rampage, 2022-05-31 about High Bed Lower Castle
« À la manière des enfants qui inventent tout un royaume avec les objets les plus banals, les décors et les accessoires servent les fantasmes, grands et petits. »
Laurence Pelletier, JEU, 2022-05-30 about High Bed Lower Castle
« Embrassant les mondes émergeant des mouvances et des corps, Ellen Furey et Malik Nashad Sharpe accueillent l’inattendu et multiplient les perspectives. »
Penélope Desjardins, Artichaut magazine, 2022-05-29 about High Bed Lower Castle