The Performance, Singing the Stars, was inspired by a story in my book with the same title. The story involves a village of people who have lost the power of the night, which once resided inside them. In their quest to retrieve this power, the village decides that each person will build a sculpture with a wooden frame mounted at the top. Five wooden rods will be placed within the frame to represent the lines on a musical score. When finished, each person will take their homemade sculpture and a musical instrument out into the night. Using their instrument or their voice, each person will look up through the five bars at the top of their sculpture, see the stars falling in the notes spaces of the bars, and they will sing or play the stars.
The first public performance of Singing the Stars was performed at the H. R Macmillan Planetarium in British Columbia.
The H. R. MacMillan Planetarium performance was followed by the same performance in the Seneca College Planetarium in Toronto.
For the following performances of Singing the Stars, elaborate sculptures were built, including sculptures worn by singers and musicians. These scenarios were performed in galleries using multiple star projections to envelop the space and the performers.
MacLennan’s performance work… “contained hints of Rauschenberg’s motorized dance pieces and Robert Wilson’s plays, but their essence is a blend of the writer’s paradox-riddled poetry and strange mechanical props and costumes….exquisite stagecraft…”
The New Art Examiner, Jack Burnham
“…a lovely piece by Toby MacLennan called Singing the Stars, originally performed in Canadian planetariums…. developed a mythology of a people whose boundaries and categories are more fluid than ours… This is a musical race that can put a staff over an object and “sing” it…”
The Village Voice, Sally Banes
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath, England
The Hudson River Museum Andrus Planetarium
P.S.1., New York
Art Gallery of Ontario
Franklin Furnace, New York
York University, Ontario
A-Space Gallery, Ontario
Seneca College Planetarium, Ontario
National Gallery of Canada, Ontario
Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Ontario
H.R. MacMillan Planetarium, Vancouver
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba
Village Voice – New York
Vanguard Magazine – Vancouver
Canadian Literature, A Quarterly of Criticism and Review
Art Magazine – Canada
The New Art Examiner – Chicago
CBC Radio – “As it Happens” and “Good Morning Radio”
Review Magazine – Ottawa
Star Newspaper – Toronto