SICK HEART

A performance inspired by the novel Sick Heart River by John Buchan


The project originated in the middle of the Canadian Rockies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. There, isolated in the snow, cocooned in the best facilities for creating performance that the world has to offer, we worked in collaboration with Canadian performers. Our inspiration was a novel by John Buchan, the Canadian landscape, and the tango.

The performance has very few words. The story of a man’s search for a colleague lost in the far North of Canada as the world heads for the cataclysm of war, is told through physicality, dance, theatre des objets, music and song. The musical score is by Tyrone Landau with fragments of amongst others, John Adams and Leonard Cohen. Luke Dixon and Jane Turner are devised, directed and choreographed with a group of performers that included Louise Barrett, Paola Cavallin, Paul Huntley-Thomas and Jean Pagni.

John Buchan was born in Perth, Scotland, in 1875. He worked as a colonial administrator in South Africa, a political journalist, a spy and a popular Member of the British Parliament. Buchan was a prodigious writer. His first book, The Thirty-Nine Steps, remains his most famous. Sick Heart River was his last work, written while he was an adventurous Governor-General of Canada. He died in Montreal, unexpectedly in, in February 1940.

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