Featured: Parting: Kings Place - 16.03.14

Featured: Parting: Kings Place - 16.03.14

I caught up with Effy and Litha Efthymiou to talk about their eagerly anticipated show, 'Parting'. This is a personal project that I have been collaborating with them on for the past two years. I initially got involved as a side project whilst I was studying, and due to our on going personal and professional relationship, we have continued creating and got it to the place it is today. Musicians and dancers go hand in hand when it comes to collaborating and these two have been a privilege to work with. Here is how the project developed.

Composers, dancers, actors, a string players, a flautist, a brass section and a visual artist all coming together to 'live-through' the experience of psychosis. Ever wondered what it is like for someone living with a voice in their head, or living under a delusion? Be it reality or fantasy, or if the fantasy becomes the reality? This is real, and it's current in our society today.

Can you explain a little bit about the history of 'Parting'?
Parting is a new show in development. The project started as a small scale collaboration between dancer/choreographer Sophie Lowen, film maker Stacy Buevich and composers Litha and Effy Efthymiou. The artists worked together to produce a 15 minute piece for a string quartet, dance and film to be performed at the National Maritime museum. Throughout the development period the artists discovered a variety of interesting film projection and live performance techniques that they implemented and developed. Since the first performance, the project has significantly expanded and many more artists are on board developing exciting ideas for the full length version of the show. We have also been collaborating with a psychologist from the Institute of Psychiatry to explore how we can dramatise psychosis in our performance. 

What is the significance of collaborating with Dr. Bell for this project?
Dr. Bell is a Psychologist and Psychosis researcher. He is consulting with us on the scientific accuracy of our project. In 2008, Dr. Bell began working on research into the ability of art to expose audiences to the subjective symptoms of psychosis. Through the theories of Karl Jaspers (who wrote extensively on subjective psychology over a hundred years ago) and the discipline of phenomenology, Dr. Bell identified directorial and narrative techniques that can facilitate a living-through experience of psychosis. He is therefore best-placed to bring the experience of delusions and hallucinations fully to life. By focussing on the very essence of the psychotic experience (i.e. the hearing of the voice, the seeing of the object, having the false belief) our team is creating a multi-sensory, abstract stage show that allows audiences to physically encounter the psychotic phenomenon in the same way that the patient experiences it - and Dr. Bell is helping us to do this.

You've used a lot of multi-disciplinary work in past projects and for 'Parting'. What's the significanc of this?
We feel that an all-encompassing 'total theatre' experience helps us to communicate the themes inherent in our work.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this project?
The administrative aspect of any large scale project is always the most challenging part. Applying for funding, organising the marketing and PR, meeting with stakeholders is time consuming, but necessary. 

With regard to funding, can you describe how you went about funding it, and what advice would you have given your younger self? 
We applied to lots of organisations for funding - including the Arts Council and the Wellcome Trust. The advice I would give to my younger self is, 'do your research and spend lots of time making your application relevant, interesting and coherent'. 

Kings place is a fantastic venue, can you tell me a little bit about it?
Since opening to the public in September 2008, a diverse and open minded programme has established Kings Place as one of Europe’s leading cultural landmarks. The Our Hear series, in which Parting will be performed, is a blank canvas for open-minded programming in experimental and multimedia performance.

Get your tickets here.

  • Photography by: Claire Shovelton
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