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Ostinato: Exploring Violence and Resonance in Everyday Life


Michelle St Anne


Listen closely to the echoes of violence that reverberate through our world.

Ostinato, A new work in development.

Imagine a short, repeated pattern in music—a rhythmic heartbeat that echoes and intensifies, drawing you deeper into its compelling rhythm. This concept, known as ostinato, forms the foundation of my upcoming 25th-anniversary theatre project. Building on years of inquiry into violence and its profound impacts, this work ventures beyond the realms of military and institutionalised sexual violence to explore their resonance within civil society, the home, and the fabric of everyday life.

At the heart of this exploration are narratives told through poignant mother’s letters, inspired by the research of Megan Mackenzie, Professor of Gender and War. These letters serve as a stark testament to the enduring effects of violence, capturing the raw emotions and complex aftermath experienced by those affected.

Drawing parallels from unexpected sources, such as weather and the dynamics of the female body, the inquiry weaves together a rich tapestry of themes and perspectives. Just as an ostinato in music creates a hypnotic undertone, these elements converge to illuminate the persistent and often unnoticed patterns of violence in our society.

Through my unique methodology that is at times compositional and at others choreographical, this work aims to provoke reflection and dialogue. It challenges us to confront uncomfortable truths and recognise the subtle yet pervasive presence of violence in our every day. By exploring these themes with depth and nuance, the production endeavours to resonate not only intellectually but emotionally, urging audiences to reconsider their perceptions and roles in addressing these critical issues.

Ostinato is more than a theatrical piece; it is a powerful exploration of resilience, vulnerability, and the profound impact of violence on individuals and communities. It invites us to listen closely to the echoes of violence that reverberate through our world, compelling us to confront them with compassion, understanding, and a commitment to change.

Series 3 of Ms Kitteridge & Bok Choy forms part of my investigation process.