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Surviving Objects is a theatre performance created and directed by Teresa Murjas. It was first staged in December 2012.The completed version will be re-staged in June 2013 (details to follow), in the Bulmershe Theatre, Minghella Building, University of Reading.
Surviving Objects is a devised, multi-media practice-as-research performance based on extensive interviews conducted with my elderly mother. Our conversations concerned her experience as a child refugee, following her violent deportation by the Soviet Army from Eastern Poland to Siberia (1941). She described her subsequent journey, via Persia, to a British-run refugee camp in Bwana M’Kubwa, Northern Rhodesia. There she remained for 6 years before arriving in the UK. In order to aid my mother’s recollection, our recorded conversations focused on the objects remaining from that period in her life – my ‘inheritance’. The material presence of this handful of objects is central to the ninety-minute performance.
Surviving Objects is my attempt to locate a theatrical form that will engage with my mother’s marginalised voice. The end-on performance explores themes of intimacy and failing memory, and my constantly shifting relationship with my mother. It searches for cross-medial pathways that will enable her experience, and my experience of her, to play-out. Surviving Objects involves:
live performance from two silent female actors handling my mother’s objects and presenting them to the audience.
two synchronously-playing, large-scale film projections exploring the objects by means of a highly-magnifying (macro) lens.
my mother’s recorded voice, taken from our interviews, which were conducted in Polish, with my own verbal contribution excised.
my translation of her stories, appearing as written text overlaying the projected imagery.
Surviving Objects engages with the British-Polish diasporic and refugee experience. Its main focus is on the marginalized deportation narratives of the post-war British-Polish community. Additionally, the project serves to document – through a combination of live and mediated performance-based strategies – a particular aspect of Polish diasporic history, one that intersects with British Colonial and African histories. As such, it is of interest to a range of both academic and non-academic communities.