IBIDEM is an anarchic and poetic celebration of place and encounter, a rhythmic and physical meditation on the traces we leave behind in a world that is transforming faster than us.
OBRA theatre will create a rich multilingual and multi instrumental landscape inhabited by anecdote, shit science, lies and fantasy. The aural sound world constantly drives a shifting panorama of rigorous and muscular physicality. Performed in close contact to the audience on a bare tri frontal stage, the ensemble and language change and transform from dynamic choreography to finely detailed action.
IBIDEM questions society’s obsession with growth and change in contrast to the sites and landscapes that root us in our heritage and the stories that indicate where our future may lie. Created in response to meetings with people living in rural communities, and through residential periods in derelict buildings, OBRA explore examples of societal change and forgotten rites through the framework of multiple architectural spaces and territories.
From studio spaces to boulodromes, from village halls to underground carparks, OBRA share the essential art of words, movement and sound and invite the audience to question; what is disappearing, what should we protect, what have we gained and what has already been lost?
In 2017, I read “Pond” by Claire Louise Bennett. A passage in the novel speaks of how we will never fully understand or integrate within a place if we are not from there. Without lived knowledge of that place’s history and names, one will always remain foreign. As a counterpoint to this argument, Bennett postulates that without this historical connection or past, one can therefore experience a landscape and architecture with fragility; as you are not protected by a historical or cultural understanding, you are left with pure experience. This was the catalyst for making IBIDEM. As a British woman living in rural France and working with a multilingual and international company of performers, these questions on place, identity and the inexplicable moments when you feel overwhelmed by a wave of awe in an environment, felt a rich and pertinent source in current times.
I have always been fascinated by the traces that people leave, in the form of architecture, in forgotten objects, ancient graffiti, and in the personal stories and memories that people share. I find great comfort in open landscapes and in old buildings; why do some places resonate even if you have no previous relationship with them? What are the landscapes and which are the buildings that provoke a sensation of rootedness and belonging? Can you make a home in a foreign place where you share no common culture or language?
IBIDEM allows me to satisfy an urge to be an archaeologist, anthropologist, archivist and embark upon strange new lands of research; micro chimerism, language centres, the remembrement of rural France, hypnogogic states, Mass Mortality Events, peak experiences, dormant diseases being released as the ice melts. I have spent many hours talking with people this last year, learning about the department which has become my adopted home, discovering the hidden histories that have ruptured these communities, participated in a traditional pig kill, hosted a bal gascon. As part of this work I will turn to my home town in Bedfordshire UK, a market gardening area that is now a dormitory town, soon to increase it’s population by 50%. I have spoken with people that have already seen major industrial and technological changes during their lifetime and understood how this has changed their community, their work and family life. I have gotten to know my neighbours more and been able to define more clearly why the Gers feels like home, even if my future here post Brexit is in question. We are in the midst of a digital revolution, and to be honest, I am living outside and away from it and working on IBIDEM forces me to face the fact that even in my lifetime the world has changed irrevocably and that I have no idea of what the future looks like.
IBIDEM is about owning heritage; all of our greatest achievements, failures and crimes. It is the individual’s attempt to take responsibility for their species and about being inextricably linked to each trace made upon the earth. It recognises our role as the carriers of stories; be they fantastical, uncomfortable, mundane or pure embellishment. It is about the moment when you feel at home in an environment that you have never visited before and feeling divorced from your place of birth. It is the moment, when without warning, that sensation of being infinitely tiny and extraordinarily huge arises. When you cannot protect yourself from your history and your history cannot protect you from being fragile in front of great beauty. It is about communicating with someone with whom you share no common language and following your desire to carve your name in a tree. It is about the importance of names and the meaninglessness of naming things. It is a flickering screen, a stuck needle, an untuned radio transmitting everything and nothing.
“ The earth died screaming, while I lay dreaming…” – Tom Waits
“ Tu as consacres ta vie avec le construction de ta patrie” – Sorry Bamba