Backtracks performanceDevised and directed by Lib Taylor

Backtracks was performed in December 2000 in Myra McCulloch Theatre, University of Reading

Backtracks juxtaposed the alternative and unexpected journeys, personal and mythic, undertaken by eight people in search of ideals of home. Beginning with the missing of a train, characters confronted their own sense of displacement, alienation and unsettled identity.

Backtracks was a multimedia performance which combined a field of sound (song, music, text, utterances, noises, echoes) and images (live and mediated) to produce a theatrical collage in which an ensemble of ten performers, two video artists and one composer presented fragments of stories, memories, sounds and images to conjure ideas of home.

Backtracks performanceA corporeal performance based upon gesture, movement, bodily presence and fragments of speech was enacted among a field of mediated images which were projected onto and across the stage space and the performers. A through-composed sound track of voices (recorded, live and amplified), music, noise, percussive rhythm and theatrical sound effects was integrated into the performance as a primary level of theatrical signification.

In order to connect contemporary journeys and notions of home to a Western tradition, elements of Homer's Odyssey, the exemplary tale of the quest for home, framed the production. Homeric fragments could be traced through the performance and 'the father of Western literature' was seen as representing a tradition away from which Western culture moves, yet whose loss it mourns.


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