Scene News: Moira Finucane’s The Rapture Chapter II: Art vs Extinction | Finucane & Smith Unlimited

Finucane & Smith present
Moira Finucane’s The Rapture Chapter II: Art vs Extinction
Starring The Apocalyptic Queen of Cabaret Moira Finucane
with the Glacier Choir –
 Mama AltoShirley Cattunar and Piera Dennerstein.  
Ray Dimakarri Dixon

4 – 29 September 2019, fortyfivedownstairs
Opening Night – Saturday 7 September 

Following globally acclaimed premiere seasons in Miami, Slovenia, Denmark, Berlin and Prague, Finucane & Smith presents the stunning sequel to their 2017 award-winning art event, The Rapture.  

From the icebergs of Antarctica deep in the snow in silk couture amongst scientists, penguins and distant avalanches; from the red centre of Australia in rich cultural exchange with First Nation genius artists; forests in Denmark, silent movie houses in Berlin, and Rapture’s exhibit at Prague Quadrennial; Moira Finucane lands back into Melbourne to unleash The Rapture Chapter II: Art vs Extinction. 

Welcome to the lair of the Ice Queen; a spike-crowned, jewel-encrusted human glacier dressed in cascading silk, surrounded by porcelain icicles, sculptures of extinct birds, dripping icebergs trapped in ghost nets, she rumbles into life.  

In this apocalyptic cabaret, artists beyond gender and genre sing up an ice storm – torch singer Mama Alto, operatic wonder Piera Dennerstein, 85 year old angel of song Shirley Cattunar and from Marlinja NT, Mudburra artist of profound cultural power, Ray Dimakarri Dixon with songs of standing strong direct from the heart of our country. 

Artworks from audible to edible from 40 astonishing collaborators – globally acclaimed sculptors, multi-awarded composers, visual arts genius’ with disabilities, food artists, couturiers and queer rabble rousers – flow into and through the audience whilst words from scientists desperate to save the world ring out. And Finucane – the woman who has worldwide been called a ‘Sumptuous Monster’, ‘La Diosa’ (The Goddess) ‘Diabo Na Garraffa’ (Devil in a Bottle) walks you through the end of the world and gives you reason to come out singing … and swinging.

As one of the inaugural recipients of a new Fellowship designed to supercharge extraordinary creators, The Victorian Government’s Creators Fund, Moira undertook an epic journey of land, culture and spirit, a deep research and exchange odyssey, that led her from the far north of Australia – from the Tiwi Islands through the red centre, collaborating, learning and exchanging with Indigenous artists and communities to the very far south Antarctica. The discoveries are Moira Finucane’s The Rapture Chapter II: Art vs Extinction.   

Rapture describes spiritual, physical or emotional transportation and true to its name, the evolution of this work has transported me to the strangest, most beautiful parts of the planet. In March this year I travelled to Antarctica with my environmental science mentor of 35 years Dr John Bailey and humanitarian mentor Dr Bev Thiele, aboard the last Antarctic Peninsula voyage of the beautiful Russian ship Aurora’s Polar Pioneer.

Being only a metre away from giant whales, watching life and death unfold in penguin colonies full of chicks and predators, walking across the snow in silk couture against the backdrop of an active glacier, creating and recording new monologues in rusting whale tanks as large as silos, once brimming with the oil from countless whales, recording avalanches and the insides of icebergs; Chapter II grew like Frankenstein’s monster, electrified by burning questions of survival, equality and the future.” said Finucane.

These journeys are infesting and infecting Chapter II, leading Finucane to create her first Ice Queen. Her existence and fragility underscored by the ice, penguins and avalanches Finucane recorded.

Finucane adds to this her collaboration with Indigenous singer/songwriter Ray Dixon, the spectacular beauty of his songs of Standing Strong, and a gift from the Dixon family – 60,000 years old sand from the sacred lands of Marlinja. She spends the week before opening with the Dixons on their country in remote Northern Territory and together at the Wave Hill Freedom Day Festival.  Ray then brings his songs to the heart of Melbourne for the opening of The Rapture Chapter II:  Art vs Extinction.

In this lair of the sacred, the profane and extinction, a treasure map for hope in action is offered to each and everyone. Come one come all, sip salvation on the rocks – table seating, drinks at the bar, wild humour and at the end of the show, at the end of the world, The Rapture Lounge, a disco ball, singing and dancing.

Finucane & Smith Unlimited are Australian legends of Unrealistic Art. Acclaimed in 13 languages for their arresting mix of provocation and entertainment, they hijack myriad artforms and engage unique and extraordinary artists to create indelible visions of humanity, freedom, power and desire. Their work has won 15 performance awards including the Climakaze Award for Outstanding Art in Climate Justice (USA, 2017), the CHAMACO Award for International Presentation of the Year (2015, Cuba), eight Green Room Awards and the Patrick White Playwright Award.

Commissioned by Mesto Zensk City of Women Festival Slovenia and Climakaze Festival Miami, The Rapture is Finucane’s masterwork, alchemising three decades of her life as an environmental scientist, in humanitarian work focusing on gender violence and in art. 

Finucane & The Rapture – critical responses
Underground and unforgettable, seductive and revolutionary, provocative and glorious”. 5 stars Farsa Magazine Buenos Aires

“She comes to life in the full complexity of emotion, vulnerability, love and evil, often all at the same time. She creates a new world, a new essence of woman” Mesto Zensk, Slovenia

“Finucane is the superdiva … this is a permanent provocation.” Clarin, Argentina

“It is sublime. It is divine. It is dangerous” 4.5 stars Planet Art 

“Extraordinary, visceral, exciting” London Calling UK

“Her embodiment of opposites was particularly inspiring… naivety and provocation, political awareness and belief in fairy-tales, outspokenness and respect, naked body and highly researched costumes, irony and extreme seriousness…Moira put Australia on the map” Transit Festival, Denmark


Dates:  4 – 29 September – Previews 4, 5 & 6 September, Opening Night 7 September
Times:  7.30pm Wednesday to Saturday, 5.30pm Sunday
Venue:  fortyfivedownstairs 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 
Duration:  90 minutes (including interval)
Tickets:  $25 – $98 | table seating | group bookings available 
Bookings:  03 9662 9966 and
Warning:  haze and nudity 

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