Sunny and her co-producers Mindy Meng Wang, Gelareh Pour and Aviva Endean appeared on the Nexus Arts stage without detailing what was to come, but we didn’t need any explanation once the show began. Mostly recorded voices told the stories of these women and their mothers, and the music was performed by Weng’s guzheng, Endean’s clarinet (and other woodwinds, one of which strikingly used a rubber tube), Kim’s percussion, and Pour’s haunting kamancheh and gaychek.
With only the briefest of breaks between pieces (which meant that the audience at times nearly clapped, but then stopped themselves), this featured vocals in a host of languages, while the accompanying soundscape (or even dreamscape) was full of beauty, joy, pain, sorrow, and yearning.
At the end of the 50-or-so-minute performance, the punters stayed for an enlightening and amusing Q+A, which shed light upon some of the more mysterious sections of the show – but not completely. After all, motherhood is always beyond mere words.
Nexus Arts, 22 October 2023
MotherTongue, MotherLand was a one-night-only OzAsia Festival event
until 5 November 2023