The ever-fabulous mezzo gives us a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Black Rider for Victorian Opera and Malthouse.

“Come on in … take off your skin, and dance around in your bones.” An utterly appropriate line from a show in which skin-shedding, shape-shifting and bone-rattling choreography reign supreme.

This rehearsal period for Malthouse Theatre and Victorian Opera’s production of Black Riderhas been one of the wildest rides of my life, and having just hit previews, this is the first time I’ve had a smidgeon of available brain space to draw breath and scribble down this rehearsal diary. With music by Tom Waits and words by beat poet William S. Burroughs, the show was always going to be something special, but when you hurl talent of this magnitude at it from every side, it becomes … well, I’m not even sure, but both cast and audience emerge dazed, exhausted, possibly slightly baffled and entirely transported at the other end.

The Black Riderensemble. Photograph © Pia Johnson

Now, back to the first weeks of rehearsals …

Production Rehearsals

We started our rehearsal process in the upstairs ‘Bagging Room’ at The Malthouse Theatre. This...