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from EUGENE O'NEILL and the verbatim transcripts of the 1918 Titanic Inquiries
THE BUNKER THEATRE | London, UK | 2018
TITANIC PLAYS is a new devised work combining Eugene O’Neill’s two earliest and most rarely performed plays, Thirst and Fog, with transcripts of the US Senate and British Wreck Commissioner's Titanic inquiries, verbatim radio transmissions of the Titanic in its final hours, and personal accounts from before and after the disaster. Written in the year following the sinking of the Titanic, O’Neill’s enigmatic first plays address one of history’s greatest calamities from the perspectives of its few survivors, floating helplessly in the unforgiving waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Stripped of basic human needs, O’Neill’s earliest characters struggle to reconcile their disastrous circumstances with their sense of individual identity and social responsibility.
In TITANIC PLAYS, three rehearsed actors perform the O'Neill texts as 10 community volunteers perform fragmentary historical texts for the first time as they are fed lines and staging through an in-ear headset system, denying them the time to process the text or construct a considered performance of it. This reconfiguration of dramatic and historical texts places artistic interpretation and historical reality directly at odds with one another while bringing to the forefront the radical effects of social inequality under circumstances of disaster and collective trauma.
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