Alice Oswald’s powerful, book-length poem Memorial was published to widespread critical praise in 2011 – but as Oswald herself says, ‘it was written to be spoken out loud.’ Now, director Chris Drummond of Australia’s acclaimed Brink Productions takes Memorial from page to stage in this poignant and atmospheric new theatre work, capturing the poem’s essence while drawing fresh connections between its Homer-inspired narrative and the First World War.
Memorial is inspired by the Iliad. But rather than attempt to retell Homer’s monumental tale, Oswald’s poem instead focuses on the fates of the soldiers named within it, turning a heroic epic into a human lament for the lost and forgotten. This new stage work is directed by Drummond, with live music composed by Olivier Award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook and movement directed by Circa’s Yaron Lifschitz. Leading Australian actress Helen Morse will be joined on stage by a choral army of 215 men and women – one for every soldier in Oswald’s poem, all drawn from local community choirs.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Barbican, with assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc, Adelaide Festival, Brisbane Festival and Melbourne Festival, and with support from the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund. This project is assisted by Arts SA – Independent Makers and Presenters – Major Commissions Fund.