In development
Two performers manipulate overhead projectors to create a film-noir image of slatted blinds and a streetlight outside. A third performer in a fedora peers through the projected image of the blinds as if spying on someone outside
Two performers manipulate overhead projectors to create a film-noir image of slatted blinds and a streetlight outside. A third performer in a fedora peers through the projected image of the blinds as if spying on someone outside
Two performers dressed in black crouch in the dark by two overhead projectors. These project a handmade image of a map of land and ocean with a ship sailing on it

Fragments

by Laura Swift and Russell Bender

With additional material devised by the company

Inspired by fragments of Euripides

-

Fragments

by Laura Swift and Russell Bender

With additional material devised by the company

Inspired by fragments of Euripides

-

Three archaeologists pore over excavated shreds of paper in a dusty back office. What do they say? Muse, daughter of Memory and siren of Jazz, is about to arrive and bring these jumbled letters to life…

Fragments is a piece of theatre made out of a few dozen shredded and discarded paper scraps from the ancient past: fragments of a play a play by the famous Greek playwright Euripides.

Presenting glimpses of a lost masterpiece through reconstruction, speculation, shadow puppetry and song, Fragments is both an exploration of the weird world of those who study papyrus, and a meditation on how we construct the truth and piece together the past.

fragments of what?

In the Sackler Library in Oxford is a small back office with walls lined by 1970s wood panelling and dozens of cupboards. These cupboards are filled with hundreds of cardboard boxes. And the boxes contain hundreds of thousands of fragments of papyrus, dating back 2000 years.

They were found by Victorian archaeologists who had discovered a gigantic ancient rubbish dump while digging in the Egyptian desert. There are fragments of shopping lists, of tax receipts, business correspondence, personal letters - and fragments of ancient Greek including from works that have been lost.

There are so many that the majority of the fragments in the collection are untouched, still waiting to be deciphered by one of a tiny handful of experts. It is anticipated that this process could take decades to complete.

Cast

To be announced

Creative Team

Laura Swift
Co-writer
Russell Bender
Director
Lucy Sierra
Designer
Jess Mabel Jones
Puppetry Director

developing Fragments

In 2014 the Being Human Festival and Oxford University commissioned Potential Difference to spend two weeks exploring how to retell stories from fragments of lost plays.

In 2017, we were supported by Ovalhouse, the Leverhulme Foundation, Arts at the Old Fire Station, The Open University and Jerwood Space to begin developing a full-length play version of the ideas we had developed.

After exploring several 'lost plays', we settled on a tragedy Cresphontes, by  Euripides. The fragments number a few dozen, and they range from a few pages-worth of a scene, to some scattered lines and broken phrases. Elsewhere, we have an account of the myth upon which it was based - a gripping family drama based on semi-truths and misunderstandings.

The R&D culminated in four work-in-progress performances: at Ovalhouse in London and the Old Fire Station in Oxford.

In 2018 we were awarded a grant by the British Academy towards developing and producing the full production of Fragments, planned for 2020.

Photo galleries

Related posts

No related posts
No items found.