Arthur Chappel is a Manchester, England born artist: writer, poet, photographer, and much more…
In May 2009, as one of the volunteers, he participated in the choir at the world premiere of the underwater opera You Who Will Emerge from the Flood… which took place at the historic Victoria Baths in Manchester.
Below are some excerpts from his testimony in which he recounts his experience with Blorkra, the amphibious hybrid character performed by Juliana Snapper.
“ This might easily have been a solo-production, but Juliana wanted to interact with the last vestiges of cruelty left from humanity, — the creatures who would taunt her from the marshy shores of her watery realm and that is where the choir came into the production. (…)
Our role as choir and musicians involved sound effects and long held slow resonant notes made with our voices rather than songs, which is fortunate because my singing is truly appalling. The promise in the request for choir members that no experience was needed and that it wasn’t an audition was all the incentive I needed to sign up. I had no idea quite what would happen next. (…)
I had expected the choir to have a few minutes in cameo in the show, but it was now becoming clear that we would be interacting with Juliana a great deal. (…)
We now went into our ‘burlesque’ sock dance, moving our sock puppets arms in tune to the snake-charmer-tune as sexily as we could. It looked great. Then we had our Busby Berkeley moment, and slowly, emerged from our cubicles in unison to lie down poolside. We arched our heads and arms back, sweeping the water with our sock-gloved hands, and seeing the pool, other choir members and the audience all upside down. We recovered to a sitting position, and rose up slowly to avoid dizziness and slowly somberly filed out of the pool area while Blorkra performed a solo finale before her sad lonely death. ”