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Classical myths echo in Dickie Beau’s LOST IN TRANS

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 December 2015

Dickie Beau channels multiple personas in his LOST IN TRANS

Dickie Beau channels multiple personas in his LOST IN TRANS

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Disembodied voices emanating loneliness on a bleak theatre set might not be your idea of getting into the festive spirit.

The performance piece will be staged at Toynbee Studios for two nights only next Thursday and Friday, December 10-11The performance piece will be staged at Toynbee Studios for two nights only next Thursday and Friday, December 10-11

But for those seeking solace from the whirl of Christmas shopping and overpriced mulled wine, Dickie Beau’s bold, uncompromising show might be just the ticket.

With his whirlwind piece Lost in Trans at Toynbee Studios, Whitechapel, next week, the Bethnal Green artist is drawing not only on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but also the tradition of drag and the idea of how a voice can transcend life itself.

“It’s a mixture of influences, we think of it being a poem in motion rather than a play. There’s lots of video and sound collage,” says Dickie, who was commissioned by the Southbank Centre to develop the piece together with Julia Bardsley.

The 37-year-old has taken a classical myth and made it his own, focusing particularly on Echo, the nymph who died of a broken heart, leaving just the sound of her voice behind.

“It’s sort of an audio-video immersion, it’s a little bit futuristic and almost science fiction in its aesthetic. It’s quite dream-like,” he said.

As Dickie was developing the idea, a friend sent him a three-inch reel to reel tape that was found on a commuter train in the 1960s, containing an unknown’s man story.

Dickie blends the voice from this old tape with another person’s.

“I made them relate to each other, and that worked really nicely with the show.”

He developed the piece at Cullberg Ballet, and has so far presented the show at venues including the Southbank Centre, Contact in Manchester, Homotopia Festiva and at the City of Women Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Dickie may be performing to crowds all over Europe, but does performing in a solo show ever get lonely?

“I love it but it is lonely,” he admits. But in some respects this is perfectly in keeping with what the piece is about.

“The show is particularly about loneliness – all of the voices are in some way outsiders.

“I think most people identify with that feeling, that unidentifiable head space.”

Echo and Narcissus are not the only classical figures to drift through the space and into the audience’s consciousness.

Expect to meet Tyresias, the seer who for two years lived as a woman, and Cyclops, the one-eyed giant, through whom we are told the world anew.

Lost in Trans runs from Thursday, December 10 at 7.30pm at Toynbee Studios, Commercial Street. Tickets £12/£10 concessions from artsadmin.co.uk/events/3804

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