M1 Singapore Fringe Festival: Hyena Subpoena

  • Gallery Theatre, Basement
  • 20 Jan 2016 - 21 Jan 2016
  • 8pm – 9.05pm (no intermission)
  • $22 | $19 (concessions for students, NSF & senior citizens)

Hyena Subpoena tells the tale of Mona Morse, who has fled civilization to live in a tent in South Africa’s famed Kruger Park. Each animal she encounters on the bushveld is matched with a formative event in her past, as Morse discovers zoological allegories to explain her harshest, most darkly comic life lessons.

Through Mona’s tales of hyenas, lions, antelopes and elephants, Kidd explores the conflicts between predator and prey, individual and collective, human beings and the rest of the natural world.

A central purpose of this work is to look at mental illness, or generally those issues which alienate individual from collectives. These attract a special type of stigma, which Kidd likens to the reputation of the hyena. Her young narrator’s tales of calamity may be seen as a love letter to all those who, like the hyena, defy easy categorization and so find themselves exiled to the outskirts of respectability.

Representing the work of a powerful artist at the height of her craft, Kidd’s Hyena Subpoena embodies “a keening and wickedly funny ode (...) to all who wander the margins of society” (Kai Cheng Thom, Montreal Review of Books).

Hyena Subpoena combines soundscape and video installation to recreate Mona’s campsite. Environments are rendered from wildlife footage gathered by writer/performer Cat Kidd and partner Geoff Agombar while on tour in South Africa. DJ Jacky Murda’s soundscapes conjure image, mood and geography, as well as tempo and rhythm. In this work, he sources his musical inspiration widely, from Prokofiev to Nazareth, Berlioz to the Beatles, Danse Macabre to the drama club at Somcuba Primary School in Kanyamazane, SA.

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Biography of artists

Down Dog Productions

Down Dog Productions was originally comprised of Montreal-based poet Cat Kidd and DJ Jacky Murda. Since the mid-90s, the word/sound collaboration has been performing and recording their hybrid works. The multimedia poetry show Sea Peach was launched in 2003 in an abandoned swimming pool, which Down Dog transformed into a theatre, with seating in the shallow end and aquatic video installation projected onto the tiled walls. The critically-acclaimed show was held over in its third week and toured extensively.

Lighting and technical design for the first production of Sea Peach was by Jody Burkholder, who continues to be a core member of the company. Geoff Agombar has been the production manager since the restaging of Sea Peach in 2004, as well as contributing video and still images for Hyena Subpoena. Jody and Geoff ran video, sound and lights for the premier of Hyena, which was presented in a disused industrial space/iron sculpture gallery. The production was in collaboration with theatre Scapegoat Carnival and directed by Alison Darcy.

The Hyena Subpoena album was recorded in the mountains outside Barcelona by Jacky Murda in 2013. The book/CD folio features cover art by Kiva Stimac and was released the following year.

Cat Kidd

Cat Kidd is a Montreal writer/performer best known for her zoology-themed multimedia performance poetry, combining narrative verse, fine-tuned delivery, video installation and original soundscapes by DJ Jacky Murda. 

Described as “an adult blend of Dr. Suess and Aesop’s fables”, Kidd’s first solo show Sea Peach won the Montreal English Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Text, touring to the Edinburgh Fringe, Toronto Harbourfront’s World Stage and the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Cat has performed in Oslo, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, New York, Albuquerque and Glastonbury.

A graduate of Concordia’s MA program in Literature & Writing, Catherine taught writing at that university and twice received its Irving Layton Award. A section of her novel, Missing the Ark, was nominated for the Journey Prize.

Cat’s voice may be heard narrating air safety messages, video games and as the voice of a prehistoric snail at the Joggins Fossil Museum. Her poem Human Fish opened the Spier Arts Poetry Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2007. That trip was the inspiration for her current suite of critically-acclaimed performance poems, Hyena Subpoena.

Other Performances

White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour (Iran)
Animalier by Megan Mazarick (USA)

Part of

Exhibition Programmes
Author: National Museum of Singapore
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2016