Ultimate Collective Experience
Directed by Karmina Šilec
“I’ll tell you. You’re young, but you’re one of us, and I’m one of us, so I’ll tell you.”
Vocal theatre company Carmina Slovenica, world renowned for its unconventional choral storytelling with superb singing, drama, and movement, brings its unique “choregie” concept to New York City for Toxic Psalms, an open-ended collection of scenes by Hanne Blank, Veljo Tormis, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Karin Rehnquist, Jacob Cooper, Hafiz, Bronius Kutavičius, juxtaposing music and texts from medieval to present times. Led by internationally acclaimed conductor Karmina Šilec, the troupe creates a highly theatrical and visceral experience through vocal music that is both unexpected and provocative. The essence of Toxic Psalms is the idea of “the Collective”, embodied by a chorus of 30 young women – an organism that reflects the human desire to merge. Channeling ancient and modern humanities, the gripping repertoire invokes the Middle East, Pussy Riot, Africa, weapons, extinctions, contaminations and abuses of religions. The life of man has become an unending drama of human brutality – men killing for the glory of their psalms. In the age of #YesAllWomen and #NotInMyName, Carmina Slovenica is a mighty arsenal of collective power.
Toxic Psalms is a co-presentation with Carmina Slovenica and St. Ann’s Warehouse.
The idea of the Chorus-Collective is at the core of the Toxic Psalms performance and embodies the primal realms of the human condition. Built upon the concept that “chorus can take over from us and experience for us our innermost and most spontaneous feelings and attitudes,” by acclaimed Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, in Toxic Psalms, the Chorus represent the views of contemporary society holding up certain moral and cultural standards—much like the media does in our daily lives.
Photos by Cory Weaver.