IN ENDINGS, Australian performer Tamara Saulwick meditates on death and the desire to connect with loved ones once they are gone. In doing so, she makes use of turntables, tape players, recorded interviews and live music from folk singer Paddy Mann. By EDWIN GILSON.

Were you surprised by how many people came forward to share their experiences of death?

I don’t know if I was surprised but the conversations felt very candid and generous. We spoke about all sorts of things but primarily what people’s understanding of death was and the moments following the death of a loved one. It’s not something we tend to sit around and talk about.

One review that said there isn’t “drama or intentional poetry or even much raw grief perceivable” in the show. Did you try and present death in a very neutral way?

I’m not really into hamming up emotion. The fine line with this was always sentimentality, and I’m not interested in that. I like work that is resonant and has a sense of genuine connection and meaning. We were trying to work out how not to shy away from the topic but also how not to gloss over it and sentimentalise it. It’s not like, “this is the sentimental part of the movie where we all cry”.

How do you make use of the analogue equipment in the recordings heard in the show?

The recordings themselves are a great way to get different voices and stories into the world. The equipment we play them back on operates on a number of levels. One is a metaphor – these devices are basically extinct, constantly on the verge of death in every show. They have a great fragility about them. The sonic qualities they have immediately evokes the past and a sense of nostalgia. When I was first conceiving this work I had an image of a vinyl record ticking over, with the stylus getting to the end of the record. That image was kind of the starting point.

Has the idea of endings, in any context, always emotionally affected you?

Yeah, I think so. It’s that thing of different phases of life, the idea that it’s only once things have gone that you recognise them. I remember a guy saying to me that his teenage son had grown up and there was a point at which they had stopped connecting in an unconscious father-son way. That’s the kind of thing you don’t see coming, and when you look back it’s gone.

The death of your own father is a thread in the show. Was that a catalyst for the show becoming about life ending specifically rather than endings in general?

That was in the ether so I’m sure it played a part. But also when you start to hone in an idea you get more specific anyway. My father’s death certainly influenced the way I was able to engage with that material and other people’s experiences. It’s a bit like an archaeological dig – you’re trying to understand a moment that has a massive impact on lives. It’s a momentous thing that happens that you’re absent from. I actually think it’s really about connection and the desire to remain connected with people beyond their deaths.

The Old Market, Upper Market Street, Hove, May 9 to 13