Silver Stars

Concert Chamber - Town Hall, THE EDGE, Auckland

02/03/2011 - 05/03/2011

Auckland Arts Festival 2011

Production Details

“It will blow you away … Silver Stars is quietly devastating in its depiction of how much Ireland has changed in the past 20 years and genuinely uplifting in its celebration of the many people who affected that change.” – Dublin Theatre Festival 

A poignant and heartwarming song-cycle, performed by a community chorus of gay men, Silver Stars tells the stories of ordinary blokes looking for happiness and fulfillment in a country that was challenged by their very existence. 

Told with a mixture of solemnity and humour, the men’s stories range from the deeply personal to the broadly political and are delivered with such quiet dignity and honesty it is impossible not to be moved. The songs are based on singer/songwriter Seán Millar’s interviews with gay men from Dublin to New York and are accompanied by live cello, light percussion and archival video images. Spanning decades of Irish history, these eloquent storytellers capture the sometimes melancholic, sometimes celebratory moments of love, loss and the everyday.

Staged by the accomplished Irish theatre company, Brokentalkers – nominated for a 2008 Irish Times Theatre Award for their innovative work – this remarkable show has been performed around the world since its sold out premier season at the 2008 Bealtaine Festival.

Silver Stars
Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall
2-5 March 2011, 7.30pm
Festival page   

Raw voices of rookie singers create a sense of the spiritual

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 05th Mar 2011

Among the more unusual festival offerings is an Irish community theatre project that testifies to the extraordinary spiritual quality that seems to emerge whenever ordinary folk come together to sing.

The performance company Brokentalkers has assembled 10 gay men from all walks of life ranging in age from late-40s to mid-60s. Most of them have no previous stage experience but it’s apparent that the men have been profoundly affected by their involvement in the show. [More]
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Very personal and deeply moving tales shine in sombre tones

Review by Craig Wilson 04th Mar 2011

When so much we see at the moment is in some way fake, the honesty of this show is truly striking. Silver Stars is an incredibly emotive piece that pulls on a breadth of human emotion as it tells its story. It lays bare the stories of struggle, loss, defiance, acceptance and love in a sombre yet highly charged song-cycle.

The wonderful venue of the Auckland town hall concert chamber welcomes its guests with an almost empty stage flanked excitingly with a trio of cellists to one side and an array of instruments to the other, played by the song writer Sean Millar. After a short introduction this scene is slowly and slightly ominously filled with ten gay Irish men who are quite intentionally striking in the ordinariness of their appearance; you will find no gay stereotypes on this stage.

This highly polished choir embarks on a song cycle consisting of eight songs depicting the hardships and joys of being gay over the last 20 years in a heavily religious yet evolving Ireland. While mostly sombre in nature, the songs are utterly enthralling and succeed brilliantly in translating the emotion of the stories to the audience. More than once the hair on the back of my neck was standing up at the intense electrical emotion created in this space.

Each song is associated with a man’s name, eloquently bringing to mind the fact that these are real stories collected by songwriter Sean Millar. These stories resonate through the cast which was chosen in an audition where no previous performance history was required. It is astounding, due to the quality of their performance, that for the majority of this group of 39-65 year olds their debut on stage was the opening night of this show in 2008.

Directors Feidum Cannon and Gary Keegan show us, with great skill and craft, that – with simple yet astute lighting and precise and intentional stage direction – one of the most poignant and emotive back-drops can be the human form itself. Through clever timing and positioning of the cast combined with an acknowledgement of the physicality of its members, an engaging texture is created on stage without ever taking the focus off the performers themselves.

This beautifully crafted show is a truly wonderful experience. I am left feeling honoured to have been presented with these very personal and deeply moving tales. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.   


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