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performanceposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Miles O'NeilMiles O'Neil, Holly Austin
Alphabet Soup was a solo work of contemporary sound-led performance devised by Holly Austin and Miles O’Neil. The work was performed by Holly Austin and directed by Miles O’Neil. The work developed of a three-month period at Site-Works in Brunswick, Victoria and premiered as part of the 2019 Theatre Works Program. Alphabet Soup utilized purpose designed and constructed wireless body-worn sonic technology as its main dramaturgical tool. This technology enables the performer to create numerous vocal loops and to encourage the evocation of imagined landscapes and the conjuring of multiple unseen characters. The technology also enables Austin to rupture the clarity of her voice through the deployment of sonic processing tools such as delay, reverb and distortion. The work also experimented with extreme audio processing. Pitch-shifting, brought to wider attention through Laurie Anderson’s use of a version of it she has referred to as ‘audio drag’ and also used by acclaimed sound conceptualists Tamara Saulwick and Marie Brassard, the effect can lower the voice to a range outside of the realm of natural human vocal ability, creating, as it does, a range of sonic masks. Alphabet Soup received critical acclaim across numerous reviews during the season.