An enduring lament for the living inscribed with love. How do we care for the strangely familiar and mourn the distant dead? Tongues of Stone is hard talk, and the stone tongue is the speaking landscape. Colin McMahon referred to New Zealand as “a landscape with too few lovers”. How do we recover romance in such a place? Talking in forgotten languages with their remote rites. Aarero Stone performs an archaeology of buried voices, resonating from two cosmologies, Maori and European.
Loosening the tongue of frozen speech, geology becomes mythology: Sibyl’s voice endures as her body disappears within a cave, Niobe turns to stone in mourning for her dead children, the women of Belstone are petrified as punishment for dancing on the Sabbath. Cracking open the stone tongue with a resounding adze: the fallen soldier becomes memorialised in a granite tomb, the Maori warrior dances for the dead, the trained performer mourns the loss of his cultural body. Fed by rivers of stories, one world leaks into another. Rather than a place of too few lovers we find the lovers are many, distant and near.
Premiere:04 March 2006
Premiere Venue:Soundings Theatre, Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand
Performance Designer Dorita Hannah
Collaborating Artist Charles Koroneho
Sound Russell Scoones
Commissioned By:New Zealand International Arts Festival