This elusive performance by Greg Wohead is part “sort of” re-enactment, part séance. Conjuring a kind of Elvis, the idea of Elvis, Greg as Elvis, and… Greg as Greg.
In development, I worked with other collaborators to devise ideas and create strange performative moments in response to Greg’s initial provocations. During this process, Rebecca Shneider’s text Peforming Remains inspired us to explore the idea that while the piece we were making would clearly not be the original ’68 Comeback Special, it would not not be it.
Later, this idea would influence my approach to designing the set and lighting. In a way the design is a minimal treatment, following the in-the-round format of the original broadcast, but adding reflection, shadow, and queitly dissolving—ghosting out—the edges of reality. Leaving room…
Catherine Love, writing in Exeunt sees Comeback Special as “…a perfect reconstruction in some ways, deliberately imperfect in others… this is a black-and-white negative of the 1968 Comeback Special. An echo. A ghost.”
And James Waygood writes that “Ben Pacey’s scene design is just as meticulous as Wohead’s deconstruction… [leaving] the performance area a blank canvas for Wohead to project upon and the audience to fill in. Pacey has created a theatrical infinity box, complete with ever ebbing lighting that radiates with narcotic finesse.”
And that (gently) narcotic lighting is, of course, also tightly integrated with the extraodinary loops and layers of Tim X Atack‘s sound design.
Check out Greg’s site for details of future performances of Comeback Special.
Photos © Richard Eaton 2016.