Drought and Rain (Re-creation 2011) at Edinburgh International Festival

This article is from 2011.

Drought and Rain (Re-creation 2011) at Edinburgh International Festival

Ea Sola dance piece gives voice to the pain of war

In 1995, when Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola created her original version of Drought and Rain, she cast elderly women who were once dancers in their youth. Due to circumstances – a war raging through their country – the women had swapped dancing shoes for guns, and only returned to the artform years later, when Ea Sola created a work to capture the human cost of conflict.

Sixteen years later, those women are in their 90s, some are dead, forcing Ea Sola to take a different approach for her re-creation of the piece. ‘I had to work with other women,’ she says, ‘so I organised auditions and met traditional singers in both the town and countryside in Vietnam. I wanted to work more on the singing for this recreation.’

Having assembled her new cast, Ea Sola realised that not only did she have a group of elderly singers capable of matching the power of that original production – but that they too had been deeply involved in the war.

‘It was only after I gathered them together that I found out that during the war, they had gone to the front lines to sing and appease the wounded,’ she says. ‘It was a fact that profoundly touched me – their voice had been a weapon.’

King’s Theatre, 473 2000, 1–3 Sep, 8pm, £12–£30.

Drought and Rain (re-creation 2011) - Edinburgh International Festival 2011

Drought and Rain (re-creation 2011)

A re-imagining of French Vietnamese Ea Sola's 1985 piece by the choreographer herself, depicting a group of elderly women labourers who sing to the departing soldiers, both to give them strength and to remind them of the weight of cultural memory they carry with them into battle. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

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