The Nervous Atmosphere

Producer: Chamber Made
Writer: Zoë Barry
Directed By: Ingrid Voorendt

A breathtaking evening of music and story recounting one woman’s three close encounters with lightning

Synopsis

On a late afternoon in regional Victoria a woman driving alone is hit by lightning. It strikes the car, shooting electricity from the steering wheel up her arms; a second strike hits the road just in front of the car. Six months later lighting finds her again, this time striking her house.

Renowned cellist, composer and theatre-maker Zoë Barry unravels her experience in this visually and sonically stunning solo work.

Bosco Shaw’s spectacular light sculpture sets Barry amid the storm, joining with her evocative performance to conjure the wonder of nature’s awe-inspiring power. Chamber Made’s The Nervous Atmosphere is unlike anything you’ve seen on stage before.

A mesmerising evening of story and soaring cello carries the audience into this extraordinary tale of Barry’s encounters with lighting and the strange events that followed. In this remarkable performance, music and theatre lovers alike will be inspired to reflect on the ways we connect to the land and sky, to ourselves and to each other.

Short Reviews

Vulnerable questions about humanity, survival and the very nature of existence itself
The Age
Mesmerising stage craft, sublime lighting and stunning orchestrations
Limelight
A sublime theatrical poem
The Saturday Paper

Video

Additional Videos

Technical Information

Touring Party: 3
Bump-in Time: 2 days with pre-rig, opening on the second night hrs
Bump-out Time: 4 hrs
Interval: No

Lighting

The largest element of The Nervous Atmosphere is the Lightning Sculpture that is made with 15 lengths of LED Pixel neon flex tubing. This is a large power draw and requires 5 x 10amp dedicated circuits.

This production was programmed on an ETC ION. Lighting consists of a number of standard conventionals (preferably LED where possible) for stage lighting and specials and a flown cyc package to create backlight. The neon is programmed and run via MadMapper on a show laptop.

Audio

The Nervous Atmosphere consists of:

  • A single performer playing cello through a loop station. She wears a headset mic to amplify spoken word at the top and tail of the show.
  • Qlab playback for ambient soundscape and pre recorded voice.
  • Performer wearing in ear monitors for fold back.
  • 5.1 surround output with subs

Staging

The Nervous Atmosphere is designed to be performed in a theatre space that can accommodate a minimum stage size of 9m wide x 11m deep (although we are open to conversations about adapting the current work to fit smaller spaces). The work requires overhead rigging points so as to attach multiple pulleys creating a temporary flysystem. The pulleys connect to each length of neonflex to a single fly line. The ideal grid height is 7m but can be performed in a venue with a minimum grid of 5.5m. A flown grid or bar system is desired for ease of rigging.

The neon is preset flat onstage, concealed under a large ‘cloud’ made from fire retarted polyfil. The polyfil and neon is laid out on a black W,7m x D,8m floor cloth. Fifteen neon power and data cables run under the floor cloth via premade holes.  These are raised out of the cloud via the pulley system during the performance, by the performer.

A white cyc is hung at the back of the stage with appropriate masking, ideally with a black gauze hung in front of the cyc so that it disappears in full blackout.

Crew Notes

Lighting, AV and sound control are to be set up in a central position with good sight lines of the stage and ability to hear the sound in the room. Preferably an elevated ops position. The show will be operated by one of the touring crew.

Bump in requires the assistance of 2 mechanists and one audio technician.

Please see linked Tech Specs for further details and a full bump-in schedule.

Transport Notes

Storage for the The Nervous Atmosphere consists of:

  • 3x 650mm x 410mm x 390mm black plastic crates containing neon rope light
  • 3x 650mm x 410mm x 270mm black plastic crates containing neon control and rigging
  • 1x large drape bag containing 7m x 8m floor cloth
  • 1x 2m duffle bag containing lengths of wood

This will need to be freighted or can be transported by the touring crew in a van.

Audience & Marketing Notes

Theatre lovers – Zoë’s story is a gripping, human drama that brings us closer to nature as she tries to make sense of the world beyond
Music enthusiasts – classical and contemporary audiences alike have responded with rapture to Zoë’s soaring composition and virtuosic skill
People seeking transcendent experiences, who will be taken on a mesmeric theatrical journey
Audiences who like to see Australian stories on the world stage
People compelled by how others make meaning of traumatic life events

Selling Points

  • A true story of being struck by lightning and its profound effect in the months and years that followed
  • A stunning light sculpture centre stage with effects that evoke lightning
  • A full sensory performance that leaves audiences transfixed
  • A full sensory performance that leaves audiences transfixed A sublime musical and storytelling experience
  • A relaxed performance during the premiere season in Melbourne was incredibly well received. This can be replicated in future seasons
  • The work’s premiere season sold out and was met with rave reviews

Community Engagement

  • Artist Talk about Zoë's experience, research and process of creating The Nervous Atmosphere

Details

Contact

Kylie

McRae

+61 414 808 713

Genre

Audience

Venue Format

Black box, flat floor or hall

Duration

70 Minutes

Available Until (from - to)

01/08/2024

31/12/2026

Budget & Fees

What are these? Find out more.

In Development - work which will be produced and premiered in time for touring during 2025/2026. Please contact the Producer directly for Budgets and Fees.

Remount: $3100

Weekly Sell Off: $9000

Per Performance: $6000

Royalties: 15%
Apra Obligations: None

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