“I propose a conspiracy of orphans. We exchange winks. We reject hierarchies. All hierarchies. We take the shit of the world for granted and we exchange stories about how we nevertheless get by. We are impertinent. More than half the stars in the universe are orphan-stars belonging to no constellation. And they give off more light than all the constellation stars.”
John Berger, Confabulations
Conspiracy of Orphans is a corporeal mime piece about empathy and abandonment, which follows the landscapes of intimacy between a brother and a sister reeling from a trauma which revisits them in fragments. Taking influence from Svetlana Alexievich’s masterpiece Second Hand Time, a documentation of post-Soviet Russian cultural trauma and suicide; the physical comedy of Buster Keaton; and the surreal eco-systems of Rene Magritte, CoO treads between the slapstick nature of sibling rivalry and the darkness which trauma pervades. In a surreal gulag these orphans scrum towards freedom – whether through death, or the knitting together of memory as if flesh.
Developed via the support and platforms of Battersea Arts Centre, Omnibus Theatre, Theatre Delicatessen, Ugly Duck and The Old Fire Station, Vauxhall, a first full length version was performed at Rich Mix, Shoreditch for Voila! Festival in November 2019.
Devised by Briony O'Callaghan and Simon Gleave
Sound Design by Richard Durning
Design by Charlie Wood