Bringing light to the experience of living and dying with Alzheimer’s, STYX is a theatre-concert telling the true story of a grandmother and grandson, piecing together the memories that connect them across time. Weaving together riotous songs, intimate storytelling and a journey through the neuroscience of memory, the show reveals the extraordinary power music has to reignite fading memories.
During this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Styx has been shortlisted for the Total Theatre Awards 2019 in the category of “Show by an Emerging Artist/Company” and nominated “Best Musical Production” by Broadway World. Earlier this year, the production won the Weekly Award at Fringe World Australia in the “Music and Musicals” category.
A three-year musical journey breathing new life into the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the production began in London as a multi-disciplinary song cycle which was followed by a tour of Australia with a supergroup of artists from Australian bands Jebediah, The Love Junkies, Axe Girl and The Tommyhawks.
In that year, Max’s grandmother Flora was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Through recording their conversations as a means of preserving his memories of her, he discovered that in the early days of his grandparents’ relationship they had started a music club called The Orpheus Club, forming an uncanny connection between her and his music inspired by the same myth. This strange serendipity inspired him to track down the club and the people who had frequented it, which came to be the first of many weird and wonderful coincidences between them. The resulting show celebrates the extraordinary power music has to reignite memories and transcend generations.
Writer Max Barton said, “We’re so proud to have shared this deeply personal and heartfelt story with a rich variety of people in Perth and Edinburgh – the strength of some of the connections we have had with individual audience members has been overwhelming. It’s thrilling that we’re now able to bring the show back to my grandparents’ home city, the streets on which the Orpheus Club was born.”
Second Body is a new company formed to seek out original ways of fusing theatre with live music, storytelling and science, founded in 2019 by theatremaker and songwriter Max Barton and composer and sound artist Jethro Cooke. Taking their name from author and academic Daisy Hildyard’s book of essays on the dissolving boundaries between all lifeforms on earth, Second Body’s founding principle is to blur the lines between artistic disciplines, foregrounding live contemporary music and making scientific research intellectually and emotionally accessible.
STYX will be at The Playground Theatre 2nd – 5th and 9th – 14th September, and Streatham Space Project 15th – 19th September 2019.