Alone in a hotel room just outside Celebration, Florida – a town developed by the Walt Disney Company – Texan artist Greg Wohead records himself talking about his alienating surroundings as he drinks beer, does some exercises and fantasises aloud about meeting someone else and a possible escape.
In this new show, we do not see or hear Greg, but watch two performers repeat his recorded voice live through headphones, as they are instructed by him to move around stage, dance and sing. Every time this show is presented, two new performers take these roles. Neither of them has met each other, neither are familiar with the show and neither have rehearsed – like the audience, they have no idea what is going to happen next.
The show that unfolds is a provocation on longing, imagination and missed connections, shifting back and forth between light and dark, surreal and literal as Greg guides the performers as surrogates through which to communicate with the audience. Although the freedom of the performers is constricted, they bring their own personal history and mannerisms, opening up an opportunity for playfulness. There is always the sense that they might resist the commands of the artist.
Greg Wohead is a writer, performer and live artist originally from Texas. He makes theatre performances, one-to-one pieces and audio work. He has shown and developed new work in the UK and internationally.
About the show, Greg says: “I created and wrote Celebration, Florida during a period when I was spending a lot of time away from people and places that were familiar to me. I found myself feeling weirdly and unexpectedly comforted at times by elements of our modern capitalist society – chain restaurants, cookie cutter neighbourhoods, Hollywood movies. But at the same time, I was left feeling hollow and unsatisfied by these things. For me Celebration, Florida is about this sort of modern experience that holds fun and frivolity, but also longing and melancholy. A complex, contradictory, strange experience that doesn’t always make logical sense – I feel a lot of that in life, and that’s what the show is.”
Celebration, Florida is at The Soho Theatre 19th – 23rd June 2018.