04/08/2012 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

ACHILLES @HOME / Chapter IX The Iliad

Live installation & performance scheduled CRACK National Theatre Festival September 26-30 2012



Prospect: Achilles, bent on staying out of the war to spite Agamemnon; mooches around the house and receives a series of calls entreating him on whether or not to return. How does he behave alone? Exploring concepts of heroism/ pride/ discipline and war.

Technical Components:
Set to mimic domestic surroundings, including treadmill, tv screen, food & disposal.
Sound: pre-recording dialogue with Agamemnon / Odysseus / Mother
Lighting: some minimal lighting cues.
Location: Newcastle shopfront (or similar) venue yet to be determined.
Timeframe: All day installation w/ set key performance time.

PART I MORNING The first call: THETIS reveals his destiny as a stark two options. Die in battle and live forever in the glory of historic reckoning, or abstain from battle and live a long and fruitful but otherwise forgotten life.

PART II DAY The second call. ODYSSEUS attempts to persuade him to rejoin the effort. Achilles is unswayed.

PART III NIGHT The third call. AGAMEMNON. It is revealed to Achilles that his cousin has died on his behalf. Achilles is enraged and forgets all of his prior principles, flies into battle.

Planning this adaptation is more forgiving than first expected, seeing as the events prescribe themselves within the domestic context, the obstacle is finding the right balance between the performance aspects and the use of live media in the space. These are the technical elements to overcome for live ambient sound:
Music: PA + laptop or mp3
Voice Record: on laptop speakers. Prerecorded audio files simulating Skype/ live dialogue.

Set for production Stage 3 Technical Elements (late August).

Currently @ Stage 1 Dialogue Composition
THETIS: Love this excellent dilemma facing Achilles, delivered to him by none other than his mother; who obviously has a stake in his survival but gives him the dignity of free will. Want to capture the solemnity of the moment along with the universal recognised motherly emotional shepherding. Achilles is unmoved from his position against returning to war due to his anger and pride over Agamemnon taking Briseis.

ODYSSEUS is a difficult piece to develop as there needs to be a certain slipperiness of tongue combined with a near-villainous mercenary edge, despite the fact that these two are allies and friends. Want the audience to nearly be convinced Achilles should go with him back to war, and then be horrified by that realisation.

AGAMEMNON’s final call should be nearly sheepish, apologetic, delivery of the news about Patroclus. Enough to set Achilles over the edge. He knows Achilles will only take a tiny nudge, so it’s a cynical use of the situation for Agamemnon’s advantage.

These three threads are performed at intervals of between 5-10 minutes. Sandwiched by the opening and closing sequences when Achilles discovers Briseis is missing and when he finally prepares for battle. Throughout the performance there are other sections in which Achilles is simply ‘at home’; performing various domestic tasks, lounging about, exercising and so forth.

Total performance is about 40 minutes plus prologue.

Ideally will occur throughout the day as a performative installation, intended to draw out concepts of discipline and ‘heroic’ behaviour, the discrepancies within this paradigm; culminating in the three dialogues at the end. Potential timeframe could involve 4-5 hours of installed prologue occurring prior to the scheduled 7:30 slot (depending on venue production requirements).

The writing process is underway with full delivery expected within three weeks. By then Phase II will have commenced engaging the preproduction process and introducing other parties into the collaboration.

I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one. PHASE II coming up will involve a fairly intense diet and physical regime to ensure I am at peak performance by the end of September.

watch this space.

The above is simply the unedited production concept sheet for an upcoming show I am in development for. As such please forgive any lack of clarity as it is not supposed to really make sense to anybody but myself (please post any queries about the jargon in the comments section I will endeavor to reply). I hope some of this will become more clear in subsequent posts, or in actual rehearsal/production.

I will be logging the process over the coming weeks as an exercise in exploring and formalising some of the reasoning behind my creative choices. I don’t see why this needs to be an inherently *private* exercise of artmaking by any means. And since most readers will not get to attend the final performance it seems harmless.

As always I welcome feedback or questions.


Entry filed under: Sydney THEATRE.

“We Could Have A Conversation…” FACE TO FAECES

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