Title of work

Cry Me a River


The dance is inspired by the book Cry Me a River by Rodney McRae.

The theme is that of a river which is born from a noble mountain. The river runs its way down the mountain and gathers force and richness as it goes. It passes through a forest where it gives life to all that it touches:- birds, fish and animals of the forest. The river then comes to an area which has been denuded, where there are dead trees and all the animals have run away. It feels alone and deserted in this new space. As it continues, a dark force (rubbish) slowly encroaches upon it and gradually takes over the life of the river. Eventually, as the life is sapped away from it, the rubbish takes over and the river dies. The mountain is now sad as it has given the water to the river freely and this has been polluted and not used in a positive way.

Cry Me a River is in four parts; The Beginning, The Forest, Industry and Help. As the river will completely die if there is no help, the last section is a final plea for help.

Anna choreographed each of the four sections and had the dancers contribute small movement sequences to each of the parts. She wanted to work with fabric to create the setting for the piece, and has fifteen metres of light blue fabric in The Beginning to represent the river. The movement suggests white waterfalls, and the light colour of the little stream as it begins up in the mountain and cascades down.

In Forest the movement entwines and gathers force to reflect the lush, dense and eerie quality of the forest undergrowth. Industry has a black net filled with rubbish. This encroaches upon the river and is finally draped over the back to show how the rubbish is chocking the river. In the last section Help, there is no fabric...there is nothing else the river can do to help itself. It can only ask us for help. It is a sad ending as the river has no hope.

What can we do to help save the river?


Anna Smith


Mark Sladek


Cate Handley, Lucia Harkin, Wendy McPhee, Catherine O'Brien, Michael O'Donoghue, Jonathan Rees-Osborne


Set: Gregory Leong




Main season in 1992