An Ear’s Mirror is not a Mouth (2020)

collaborative performance with Alkmini Gkousiari

This performance piece explores the role of sound in the relationship between family and servants at Pollok House. Playing on the idea that a bell rung by a family member would summon a servant to assist them, our performance forms a series of musical calls and responses between two performers from different parts of the house.

The performers wear costumes that reference victorian dress, but are decorated with ears and mouths. The ear and the mouth describe the relationship of demanding and submitting that existed between family and servants. Playing the cello and the clarinet and ringing bells, each performer tries to find the other in the house. The music that they play highlights the difference in the spaces in the house for servants and for family - the concealed echoey servants quarters contrast with the ornate and comfortable rooms for the family. The moments when the two performers meet explore the intimacy that can exist between people who are divided by social and economic hierarchies. Culminating in an explosive dance, it is unclear whether these divides have been or can be resolved.

Isobel O’Donovan