Lightwork: Image Performance

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Multimedia myths for lovers and losers

Created by the company, conceived by Andy Lavender

Once I was Dead draws on the myth of Daedalus and Icarus. In our piece Daedalus comes into a club looking for his son. He interacts with spectators and – through video-calling on the Internet – with an actor playing Icarus in New York. The piece features large-scale video and computer animations and small-scale images on laptops and other mobile devices.

We presented a scratch performance of Once I Was Dead at the (re)ACTOR: Digital Live Art international conference, Queen Mary, University of London, 11 Sept 2006.

Back at You (conceived with Douglas O'Connell) draws on the myth of Echo and Narcissus. A young man lives out his self-obsession on the Internet by way of his virtual existence on MySpace, Second Life and his postings to YouTube. He gets involved with the avatar of a young woman who seems struck on repetition. The piece features interaction between performer(s) and avatar, along with extensive samples of web-personae, to explore themes of devotion, delusion and unrequited love.

Back at You is developed in asociation with BAC, London, with two scratch performances at BAC on 21 and 22 April 2007.

Each piece is around 20 minutes long. We don’t attempt a faithful version of each myth. Nor do we try to do an updated telling of the story. Instead we take the things that we find awe-inspiring and extraordinary in each myth, in order to make two contemporary stories – each of which should stand up in its own right. In each case we look for a relationship between the themes of the myth and the characteristics of the new technologies that we feature. So, in Once I was Dead, a piece about blood-connection, separation and loss is presented using communications technologies (mobile phones, webcams) and a mix of intimate and epic small- and large-scale digital images. In Back at You, a story about obsessive image-adoration and compulsive repetition is played out using live mixes of sound and video that riff repeated motifs, in a multi-camera environment.

Both pieces explore the hypermedia terrain of liveness, presence, perspective and (dis)embodiment. They offer audiences an exciting encounter with digital technologies for theatre, and with classical stories that still have the power to make your jaw drop, your stomach churn and your heart leap.

Direction Andy Lavender
Producer Undine Engelmann (Back at You)
Lighting design Dan Harvey
Movement direction Ayse Tashkiran (Once I Was Dead)
Ita O'Brien (Back At You)
Sound design Gregg Fisher (Once I Was Dead)
Donato Wharton (Back At You)
Video design Douglas O'Connell
Performers Thomas Wheatley (Once I was Dead)
  Emily Randall (Back at You)
  Alex Trippier (Back at You)