“Hyena Subpoena” tells the tale of Mona Morse, who has fled civilization to live in a tent in South Africa’s famed Kruger Park. Each animal she encounters on the bushveld is matched with a formative event in her past, as Morse discovers zoological allegories to explain her harshest, most darkly comic life lessons.
Through Mona’s tales of hyenas, lions, antelopes and elephants, Kidd explores the conflicts between predator and prey, individual and collective, human beings and the rest of the natural world.
A central purpose of this work is to look at mental illness, or generally those issues which alienate individual from collective. These attract a special type of stigma, which Kidd likens to the reputation of the hyena. Her young narrator’s tales of calamity may be seen as a love letter to all those who, like the hyena, defy easy categorization and so find themselves exiled to the outskirts of respectability.
Representing the work of a powerful artist at the height of her craft, Kidd’s “Hyena Subpoena” embodies “a keening and wickedly funny ode (…) to all who wander the margins of society” (Kai Cheng Thom, Montreal Review of Books).
“Hyena Subpoena” combines soundscape and video installation to recreate Mona’s campsite. Environments are rendered from wildlife footage gathered by writer/ performer Cat Kidd and partner Geoff Agombar while on tour in South Africa. DJ Jacky Murda’s soundscapes conjure image, mood, and geography, as well as tempo and rhythm. In this work, he sources his musical inspiration widely, from Prokofiev to Nazareth, Berlioz to the Beatles, Danse Macabre to the drama club at Somcuba Primary School in Kanyamazane, SA.
- Photo by Tristan Brand