Evensong is a solo chamber suite of 17th century songs, sonnets and scenes in modern interpretation devised and performed by ex-pat Kiwi Glenn McKenzie. It will debut at 107 Projects Redfern on February 26/27/28 at 7.30, for the 2015 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.
“It is an eclectic and evocative romp through music, theatre, and history's most intriguing and audacious days,” explains McKenzie
In it, he portrays of one of its most mysterious characters, “Mr W.H.”, to whom Shakespeare’s sonnets were dedicated.
During Evensong, Mr W.H. (professional show-off and all round larrikin, who sings like a girl) recalls the love poems and starring roles written for him in his heyday by a certain Willm Shakspere, while performing all the hits from the #1 pop album of 1597.
Aged and alone, in his bare monk’s cell, he laments the tyranny of time and celebrates the persistence of love. In the white light of death he flashes back through his life, recalling the Shakespearian roles he played as boy (Juliet, Ophelia, Portia and Rosalind) and man (among them Hamlet, Richard II/III, Jaques, Lear, and Prospero); the Dowland and Purcell songs that he sang on stage and at court; and the love sonnets that Willm wrote for him in celebration of their relationship.
McKenzie is a trained classical counter-tenor. He has worked internationally for over 40 years as a professional actor/singer/director, novelist, television director, preschool educator, a university lecturer in music and theatre.
Evensong draws on McKenzie’s experiences on the cusp of society to explore gender and sexuality, sanity and folly, aging and death, through famous literature and music from the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. However, the work is not all darkness and despondency, and far from didactic. It features contemporary versions of the music of 16th and 17th century composers, John Dowland and Henry Purcell, using TripHop, Pop, Punk, Jazz, and EDM grooves.
“It’s an entertainment. I get to sing and dance (though twerking is limited to an officially designated mad-scene) and best of all, to interpret 15 of Shakespeare’s most famous male and female characters in intriguing and fun ways.”