An original physical theatre piece about a refugee’s epic journey.
A wordless solo piece, loosely based on true stories of a stowaway’s epic journey from Mozambique to the U.K., hidden in the landing gear of a plane, before falling to his death on a street in a quiet and unassuming London suburb. On one level, the story is heroic, epic, and fantastical, with allegorical references to the myth of Icarus – but set in the context of the most extreme and brutal conditions, and born of the most basic instincts of human survival.
The style of performance will combine a physical virtuosity with an ever-present soundscape, moving fluidly between worlds; between dreams and reality, and between action-led narrative and clown-like play: a moment where a character is silenced by oppression becomes a physical clown-routine of wrestling to prise open his clamped mouth; an arduous journey, passing through border checks hidden away in the back of a van becomes a game of contortionist- hide-and-seek while the muffled sounds of soldiers barking orders rattle the aluminium walls.
The story of this ‘Icarus’ is one extreme story of many, where the fight for life is so desperate, unimaginable risks are undertaken in search of refuge. The refugee’s path, if witnessed through myth, is one we might call courageous, noble, or valiant. But the terrible outcome of too many refugee journeys also suggests naivety, recklessness, and desperation: the extremes of hope and hopelessness.
Politically, we hear a narrative of the importance of borders, the threat to the western way of life from an influx of migrants, and the pathos of refugee deaths as a deterrent to others. Icarus aims to provoke different perspectives on these issues through a very human story, told with an unexpected playfulness.
In Australia, and particularly Canberra as the centre of political power, the issue of migration has never been more pertinent. People who have an interest in the social and political function of theatre will take something from this show; as well as those who have an appetite for expanding their vocabulary for what theatre can be. Icarus is an ambitious cross-discipline experiment between physical theatre and sound design, that aims for a pure, accessible form of storytelling, treating dark and complicated subject matter with a lightness of touch, and focusing on the humanity at the heart of this incredible story.
Supporting this project will help me to establish myself here in Canberra, having recently moved here from my native Ireland, via France, to be with my Canberran girlfriend. It’s a style of theatre quite different from anything else in the theatrical landscape in the ACT, and, as an innovative but very accessible show, with a strong message and a very mobile set-up, it can go on to tour interstate and help add to Canberra’s growing reputation as a city that nourishes culture.
Icarus underwent a one-week development as part of the First Seen creative development program at The Street Theatre in April 2018, culminating in a work-in-progress showing. As part of this process, initial soundscape ideas were developed with sound artist Kimmo Vennonen.
Regular weekly rehearsal space over several months is required to build on the work that has already been achieved in developing the core ideas for the piece. Two 3-4 hour sessions per week in a suitable dance studio will allow me to build up the level of technique and hone the physical details that the playing style demands. With this consistent development, I expect to arrive with a full production that approaches genuine virtuosity, ready to perform here in Canberra, and tour festivals across Australia.
I’d love to tour to fringe festivals around Australia, such as the Adelaide Fringe and Fringe World, in Perth. If I can make a successful show, it will build relationships with venues, festivals, and audiences, help grow the reputation of my theatre company, and open further opportunities for this and further projects.
My Skills: I have a background as an actor, particularly in physical theatre.