The Worldwide Kitsch-Noir Screeching of SKRIP Orkestra
Posted By: Leslie-Stonebraker
Six women from the former Yugoslavia, lead by actress and dancer Jelena Rusjan, form the offbeat, uncompromising, childish and dark SKRIP Orkestra. Pop rock, kitsch-noir and performance art unite as this group shares stories or war, domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse through folk songs, fairy tales and unconventionally produced punk music. The girls will have their American debut at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College Oct. 22-24 and next week (Oct. 29 & 30) at South Oxford Space in Brooklyn.
New York Press: How did SKRIP Orkestra start?
Jelena Rusjan: I was inspired by the stories from the play Pillowman by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. I had an idea how to use these stories, so I called the girls. They sad yes, and we started with rehearsals in July 2009. After three months, S Orkestra was born.
What drew you to this mode of performance?
Ana Franjic: A little bit of fun, a little bit of investigating. Being involved in music and theatre, we wanted to make an experiment and see what will happen if you combine these two elements together. I guess it grew larger then we expected, which is always great; when you make something and it evolves to something of it’s own, that you can’t control.
JR: Like Frankenstein.
What can an audience member expect at one of your performances?
JR: Skrip Orkestra is a musical cast unable to avoid its theatrical roots. SKRIP Orkestra is an exploration of a form of theater where the obscure forces of violence, personal responsibility and lost childhoods face the variegated aesthetics of kitch-noir.
Andreja Kopac: In that sense, our aim is not really straight-targeting or focusing on one single problem or one single matter, but is quite clear that brutal stories of Pillowman are opening themes, which are normally not spoken. Stories about silent voices that are shut down. About abused children, the most vulnerable part of society, that cannot defend themselves. About the hypocrisy of “democratic society,” killing every kind of singularity in the name of collective plurality. About the perverse logic of the massive agenda setting reality. The reason for the “state of society” today is not spoken, not discussed anymore. Everything is “the package,” while the truth is somewhere else.
How would you describe your sound?
JR & AF (alternating): We grew up on punk rock music and riot grrrl poetics. Patti Smith, Bikini Kill, The Raincoats, Le Tigre and Lydia Lunch are starting points I’d say, but also music and aesthetics of Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, Mike Patton, Sonic Youth, Toychestra, experimental stuff like Suicide, Diamanda Galas, Atari Teenage Riot, American noise rock, DIY approach of hardcore music and also artists like Jan Saudek, Ray Caesar, Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, John Waters, Ed Wood, John Cage… everything that has a “twisted” view, basically people who have succeeded in broadening the boundaries. I think Skrip Orkestra is a weird mix of all of that. It’s hard to describe Skrip Orkestra music but…we have a couple of suggestions: Noir Kitsch audio adventure taking you to the other side of nightmares; music with a defect playing with human mistakes, children melodies disguised as uncompromising Screech punk, lounge music from hell.
What role does storytelling play in your work?
JR: Storytelling is the first part. The second part is the visual one. And then there is a third part, the music part. Skrip Okrestra is made in the way that only together—all these parts—create a special atmosphere where you have to hear and see us at the same time.