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Surviving Objects



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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.


http://www.reading.ac.uk/ftt/research/ftt-survivingobjects.aspx .


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