Kaboom!

a production

Background

A multi-media performance by → ↑ → utilizing 35mm slides, mute performers, a taped television soundtrack from an old Hollywood movie, and occasional synthesizer sound effects performed live.

Leigh Parkhill, Maria Kozic, Ralph Traviato & Anthony Montemurro; Philip Brophy - Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide © 1979

Credits

Script, direction & slides - Philip Brophy
Synthesizer - Anthony Montemurro (1979); Leigh Parkhill (1978-1981)
Performers - Leigh Parkhill, Maria Kozic & Ralph Traviato (1979-1981); Jayne Stevenson, Ralph Traviato, Roger Forbes & Maria Kozic (1978)

1978

Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne

1979

Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide

1980

NEW MUSIC Benefit Concert - Guild Theatre, Melbourne

1981

City Studio, Sydney

Jayne Stevenson, Ralph Traviato, Roger Forbes, Maria Kozic & Leigh Parkhill - Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne © 1978

Overview

From the original programme note

Kaboom! quite literally takes to pieces a Hollywood melodrama film (Above And Beyond, 1945, starring Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker( and sticks all the hacked-up pieces together again in a form of a multi-media play. The dialogue is taped from TV and 'mimed' by actors on stage; the original music for the film is replaced by our re-written version of soundtrack music; Roy Lichtenstein slides provide a back drop of visual significance and semantic meaning to the plot; and the plot itself has been reshaped into 45 minutes from the original 90 minute movie. Kaboom! is a clear example of turning upside down a culturally and ideologically structural object (like film) and reanalyzing its meaning without resorting to either parody or polemics.

Jayne Stevenson, Ralph Traviato, Roger Forbes, Maria Kozic & Leigh Parkhill - Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne © 1978

Technical

The master track for timing is the audio playback of a tape containing edited dialogue from the film Above And Beyond. Only dialogue and select sound effects are used; most of the original music score is edited out. The performers are assigned certain characters from the film. When they hear their characters speak, they hold a flashlight under their face and do slight miming (head-nodding, tilting, no lip-synching). The performers wear dark sunglasses - one, because the slide projector is shining into their eyes as it projects the slides of Roy Lichtenstein paintings behind them, and two, because the film is about the bombing of Hiroshima. (In a key scene, Robert Taylor tells his crew to put their goggles on as they watch the blast.) Intermittent minimalist synth tones played live function as Pavlovian emotional cues. The slides' lurid emotionalism synchs to the Hollywood melodramatics of a film that romanticises devastation. The live performers remain like mute automatons: no lips, no eyes, no expression.

Roy Lichtenstein paintings used as slides © 1963-1968