BREATHe

A first-breath-to-last-breath music theatre piece, for three female singers, with interventions by a girl’s chorus and an adult chorus

 

An investigation of the way that breathing is affected by emotion and physical effort, and how that affects singing - running, falling in love, dreaming, giving birth, receiving bad news, making a speech, getting ill….. the whole range of life experiences.

Watch the film

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Inside the outside the

In out

Long short

Deep shallow

Open the close the

Pull push

Speed up slow down

A breath

A hundred breaths

A thousand breaths

A hundred million breaths

Feed on the thick thin air

The air feed the blood heart pump

In out round

The hidden labyrinth

Life support machine

 

Score available on request

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Performers: Melanie Pappenheim, Esme Herbert, Nettleham Community Choir

Directed by Emma Bernard

A 20-minute music theatre piece, first performed in the Guildhall, the 800-year-old council chamber in Lincoln, by Melanie Pappenheim and her daughter Esme Herbert and the Nettleham Community Choir, led by Liz McIntosh. At a council meeting, the Mayor, played by Melanie, confident, conservative, cautious, is confronted by Esme who appears from the public gallery to challenge her preconceptions. A piece about maintenance versus renewal, rationale versus emotion.

 

Watch here

 

Prelude

Gossip, make-up, sandwiches.

 

1 Ritual

Bell, hat, mace, handbag

 

Mayor:

Order!

 

Mayor:            Councillors:                                                    

Stone               Bow                                                                                                                

Sheep              Fold

Cotton             Field

Scarlet             Green

Up hill             Down hill

 

Measuring out the sword’s length

 

2 The Mayor’s Statement

 

Mayor:

Why are we all here?

To adopt to improve to appoint to amend to uphold to approve to agree

To authorize to allocate to scrutinize to negotiate to make enquiries

 

Mayor and Councillors:                                                                                            

to make appropriate enquiries                                                                               

                                                                                                                                   

Councillors:

To receive to respond to restore to remove to refuse

To revise to respect to retweet to revoke to review

 

Mayor and Councillors:

Information analysis procedure

 

Mayor:

To engage to enhance to ensure to advise to support to submit to report

To modify to monitor to renovate to recommend to make recommendations

 

Mayor and Councillors:                                                                                           

to make appropriate recommendations                                                                

 

Councillors:

To receive to respond to restore to remove to refuse

To revise to respect to retweet to revoke to review

 

Mayor and Councillors:

Information analysis procedure

Order to keep it in order

 

Mayor:

To maintain to promote to obtain to oppose to grant consent to refuse consent to withdraw

To audit to action to issue to commission to contribute to consider any impairments

To issue fire certificates to issue demolition notices

To license performances of hypnotism

To register premises for the preparation of fish

To grant consent for the operation of a loudspeaker

To obtain information in respect of contaminated land

To approve egg product establishments

To determine standards

 

Mayor and Councillors:                                                                                           

To determine appropriate standards                                                                    

Information analysis procedure

Order to keep things in order

 

3 Business

 

Doing democracy to the letter

Voting

Passing of papers

Stamping, signing, blowing

Passing of notes

 

Item 1: Change of use

H. Samuel to Ann Summers

Primark to Pasty Republic

Nat West to Toni and Guy

Steep Hill to ski slope

 

Item 2: Parking

Extension of Zone 1G

Misuse of permits

Misuse of scratch cards

Protocol for dealing with irate members of the public

 

Item 3: Bins

Large item collection

 

Item 4: Plastic

Single use

Multiple use

 

Item 5: Deputations

None requested

 

4 Esme’s Statement

 

Esme:

To fall to fall in love to forget

 

Councillors:                                                                                                               

To fall in love                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Esme:

To recall to remind to redeem

To rethink to reveal to reform

To disrupt to protest to make trouble

To confront to expose to make noise

To speak truth to power to hold to account

To put the cat among the pigeons

 

Councillors:                                                                                                               

Cat...pigeons.....                                                                                                          

 

To keep bees to swim in cold water to break the ice

To sleep in the open to listen to skylarks to watch the stars

To walk in the moonlight to walk in the mountains to walk through dark streets

To search for mushrooms to follow sheep tracks to be lost

To be lost in the woods to be lost in the desert to be lost in the city

 

To look into the heart

 

Councillors:                                                                                                               

To look into the heart                                                                                              

 

The Councillors are transfixed. The Mayor is not happy.

 

Mayor:

Systems...information...analysis...procedure......

 

Esme:

To grow daffodils to dance the quickstep to play the drums

To paint to draw to sew to weld to blow glass

To skate to throw to run to jump to jive

To bend to flex to spin to twist to shake

To float to flip to fly to glide to dive

To leap without looking

 

Councillors:                                                                                                               

Leap....look.....to leap without looking                                                                     

 

Esme:

To make do to do without to forgo

To be silent to be incomplete to be alone

To be alone on the sofa to be alone on the ice cap

To be imperfect to be inconsistent to not know

To be in many places at once

To disappear

 

Councillors:                                                                                                               

To disappear                                                                                                            

 

5 Esme versus the Mayor

 

The Mayor has had enough of this.

 

Mayor:

Systems.

Information analysis procedure.

To keep things in order.

 

Mayor:

To maintain to uphold to ensure to improve

To adopt to enhance to restore to approve

To renovate

 

Esme:

To fall in love

To disrupt to reform

To walk in the moonlight to walk in the mountains

To paint to draw to sew to weld to blow glass

To skate to throw to run to jump to jive

To leap without looking

To be inconsistent

To innovate

 

Mayor:

To renovate

 

Esme:

To innovate

 

6 A kind of consensus

 

The Councillors have had enough of this.

 

Councillors:                                                                                                               

To cultivate                                                                                                               

To love to make amends to restore faith to adopt children

To love to make amends to restore faith to adopt children to cultivate

 

Mayor:

To renovate to innovate to cultivate

 

Esme:

To move to reform to shake to show to reveal to ache to love to respect to make to grow to cultivate

 

A child dressed as mayor exchanges places with the Mayor.

 

Child Mayor:

Order! Order! Order!