‘Selich’ – a look into the role of voice, control and the often bitter link between fantasy and reality

Selich is a retelling of the old tale of ‘The Goodman of Wastness’ where a man steals the skin of a selkie – a mythological half-woman-half-seal creature – thus trapping her to land where she becomes his wife. This show is taken from the perspective of the selkie, exploring her perceptions of life on land as an outsider, and of her husband as both a ‘goodman’ but also as one who has held her captive for seven years.

The show talks about the links between the mystical and the all too real elements of the story telling the tale of a captive woman – who it could be argued is never ultimately free. Jess Cox is able to rekindle the story-telling tradition through vocal soundscapes, song and the richness of language with lines such as ‘shifting shingle and shell in the moonlight’ that create atmosphere and root the story’s link to the sea. The piece also has moments of profound silence, deepening our sympathy for the powerlessness of the selkie and her sense of personal betrayal once she is ‘flippered and free’.

If you want a show that explores what it is to be free, and what it is to be human: Jess will be performing at 1.30 on Saturday, and 7.00 on Sunday at the Guildhall.

Nathan Rodney-Jones.

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