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Amy Scurria


Jeff Shankley

Who Are We


An Opera in Progress


The overall format of the opera is presented in an abstract way.

Time isn't linear. But fragmented.

It explores a combination of the effects of blood memory, as well as  the 'collective unconscious' as proposed by Jung. It suggests that man suffers from certain innate qualities that are inherited and surface instinctively through time. Violence, war, corruption, and desire, all appear to have their roots in fear, represented in the piece by Phobos. And desire by The Satyr. It uses Greek myths that are embedded in our deepest subconscious and also learned behaviours to present a suggestion that there are constantly repeating patterns for humanity. 

We are never quite sure whether the piece is expressing reality or happening inside the warrior's mind after returning from Vietnam suffering from PTSD and experiencing electroconvulsive therapy. The circumstances of his life are shattered, fragmented and reassembled in a way that makes him doubt his sanity.
The parallel between Odysseus returning after the siege of Troy and the older Warrior returning  from Vietnam highlights the similarity of the conflicts passed down through generations doomed to repeat patterns of behavior. It also shows the vulnerability and helplessness of families left behind while their sons and daughters, their husbands and lovers go to war, how their lives fall to pieces, how they cope with loss; how it challenges their faith and belief in authority.

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