Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore…

Nature is a language — can’t you read?

An opera commissioned as part of Chamber Made Opera’s Living Room Opera series and Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye development program, Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore… brings Schlusser’s trademark “hysterical realism” into contact with the biggest elephant in the theatrical room: Hamlet. Stripping the language reveals Shakespeare’s architecture – a labyrinth of domestic power-play and erotic nightmare. Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore… is the story of Ophelia, a monomaniacal botanist, willful, unpredictable and in love with a self-harming sociopath.

“We see a fragmentary narrative of repressed erotic energies invading and exploding in this scene of idealised, aspirational domesticity. It’s orchestrated by a sound design from Darrin Verhagen that veers from silence to harsh ambient noise to full-on vocal splendour. Hamlet is the neurotic, self-destructive dominator (I thought of Plath’s line, “every woman adores a fascist”), while the two women closest to him destroy each other as they compete for his attention.

Strange, enthralling, disturbing, often uncomfortably funny, Ophelia Doesn’t Live Here Anymore rubs against its literal setting with subversive power. Even ordinary objects – kettles, vitamisers – become perilous, loosed from their usual moorings of meaning. I’m not sure I’d have been comfortable with such energies released in my own home; they’re the kind of subconscious hauntings that stay with you.” (Full Review)

Alison Croggon, Theatrenotes

More Press & Reviews

“All three performers are intense. They rely not so much on dialogue (a significant chunk of which is a highly staged exchange between Hamlet and Ophelia from Shakespeare’s text) as looks, symbolic props (such as animal skulls) and actions (Ophelia’s tearful chopping of a great pile of onions). These actions are often violent, and have a frisson of real danger when kitchen appliances, glass and large, sharp knives are involved. Even as this highly stylised performance unfolds, the intimate, genuinely domestic setting fights against it, creating a powerful sense of unease.

Judiciously employed projections, particularly videos of rapidly sped-up plant growth, are stunning, while Darrin Verhagen’s musical soundscape is a wonderfully atmospheric wash of brooding mechanical rhythms, harsh noise and, yes, a bit of singing.”

Patricia Maunder, ArtsHub
Full Review

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Karen Sibbing, Daniel Schlusser, Lily Paskas

Conceived by
Daniel Schlusser and devised by Daniel Schlusser Ensemble

Daniel Schlusser

William Shakespeare

Darrin Verhagen

Marg Horwell

Video Designer
Richard Grant

Video Mapping and Operation
Kit Webster

Frances d’Ath

Chamber Made, Mind’s Eye – Bell Shakespeare’s development arm, and Daniel Schlusser Ensemble

Project Manager
Sarah Ernst


November 24, 2011