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Mary Stuart
performance for solo performer, audience, 8 black & white surveillance cameras, radio microphone, video projection, sound system and theatre, 1997
text translated and adapted from the play Maria Stuart by Fredrich Schiller


The theatre is inverted: the audience inside and the elaborately costumed performer Clare Grant outside. She can only be seen by the audience via video surveillance cameras projected onto a large screen on the stage, cutting in a steady but slowly fastening sequence,  as her intimate voice is heard throughout the theatre directly addressing the audience from a new translation of Schiller's text Maria Stuart. The audience also sees into the dressing rooms and the backstage area where other performers prepare, the foyer of the theatre, void spaces and the streets outside. Passers-by also become unwitting performers in the piece when they happen to enter part of the scene. The audience becomes both voyeurs and the jailers; implicated in Stuart's monologue. Mary Stuart inverts the relationship between performer and audience until the final moment when she enters the proscenium stage of the theatre via the backstage from the street; exclaims a word; then a blackout and she is gone, unable to hold a stable presence in front of the physical audience. artist's statement

As an elusive figures moves through various live surveillance frames she intones an extracted version of Schiller's text leading to the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. This remarkable pixel and vocal presence is finally ruptured by the live appearance of the costumed actor confronting the audience.
Caitlin Newton-Broad, Realtime 27




direction, concept, video system design, text adaption: John Gillies

performer: Clare Grant

translation: Helen Lutz

sound engineer: Kevin Davidson

video system installation: Robert Cooney, Maurrese Cooney


Performance Space, Sydney 1998 (above)

Sidetrack Theatre, Sydney 1997



The Performer and the Video Screen by Beth Jackson, Ellen Pau, Eder Santos, John Gillies

Live Art/Media Art: John Gillies and the Techno Live by Edward Scheer
Exhibition - Open & Shut, Caitlin Newton-Broad, Realtime 27 Nov 1997

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