Emanuelle Enchanted

Created 1992

Back to projects

“In the summer when the earth changed, it rained for five months and on the night the rain stopped, a silence fell like we’d woke up in a silence from a dream…”

On a crude wooden stage, a group of five performers use a semi-translucent curtain, whisked backwards and forwards to reveal the fragmentary traces of a single apocalyptic night. Read narratively, the piece shows a night of crisis which is perhaps both personal and global. The invoked ‘scenes’ include a chaotic, almost nonsensical TV newsroom, a domestic space in which the walls themselves are always in motion, and a panoramic glimpse of many characters presented via cardboard signs that bear names, such as THE HYPNOTISED GIRL or ELVIS PRESLEY.

These fragments become texts with which the performers struggle, attempting — not always successfully — to overcome the hardships of theatrical representation, language and memory. The struggle to present and comprehend, and its opposite — a nervous reluctance to continue — drive the piece along. As its central methodology, the piece uses the act of arranging and rearranging texts, images and space so that new patterns, narratives and meanings emerge.

The game of dressing up and using the cardboard signs to name oneself later became the basis for the durational performance 12 am: Awake & Looking Down (1993).


Conceived and devised by the company.

Performers Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor
Direction Tim Etchells
Text Tim Etchells
Assistant Director Nick Crowe
Design Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design Nigel Edwards
Soundtrack John Avery

Emanuelle Enchanted is a Forced Entertainment production.