The wrath of a dying patriarch, the chilling screams of a mother in panic, and the revelations wrought by siblings with very different upbringings. The Ithaca Axis is a promenade performance taking place in the heart of Bristol’s city centre.
Based loosely upon The Odyssey and echoing Hamlet at times, The Ithaca Axis is an immersive and interactive theatrical performance which takes place in various locations in Bristol. Congregating in the city centre, the audience is divided into four groups who then embark upon their own journeys, occasionally encountering each other.
Odysseus, ruler of Ithaca (now modern day Bristol) has at last returned from his epic travels. In his absence his wife Penelope has been ruling, cleaning up the streets and creating order in what was once a chaotic place to live. Their decadent son Telemachus, and his mysterious sister Cassandra are about to make discoveries and reveal truths of their own, and the audience is grounded in the centre of this fascinating family. The reaction to Odysseus’ return is a mixed one: the reasons for which are explored in depth as each journey reaches its climax.
Participatory theatre is a powerful medium, and The Ithaca Axis is utterly consuming. You are among the characters, glimpsing snippets of their everyday lives. You witness the building and breaking of relationships. You laugh with them, cry with them. At times you may end up running through the streets of Bristol, pretending to be pigeons with them. You want desperately to rush to their aid when danger looms; you are one of them.
The Ithaca Axis deconstructs the boundary between stage and stalls, between actor and audience, and provides an engulfing experience which will leave you feeling charged with emotion. Voyeuristic at times, the performance is wholly immersive and allows you to forget yourself. You construct a rapport with your peers: actors and audience alike. It will also encourage you to visit parts of Bristol you have never seen before: caves, churches, and cobbled streets. This site-specific performance not only envelopes you within its cast, but within the city itself.
It pulls you in, and claws away at your very core. When the show is over, there is a terrible feeling of loss: the figurative curtain is drawn, the actors have departed, the applause has ended. Yet simultaneously there is an immense feeling of involvement. Having taken part in an incredible journey, we once again return to our normal lives, forever wondering how Ithaca will fare in this new dawn.
The Ithaca Axis is running until Sunday 5th May. Please see here for more details.