Epic (2010-2011)

“With Epic we will go on a quest for History; the big one, written about in books. The one with World Wars in it, with memorable dates and names you learn at school, but also the personal one, the human one, the one you can relate to.”

Epic sets out on a playful and experimental journey through 20th century history, while wondering if it is nostalgia or anger that drives our looking back. Chloé (French), Lucy (English), Pedro (Portuguese) and Ed (English) try to track down the genealogy of their own families, digging up the secrets of an English family in the Northern mines, a French family caught up in Paris’s May 1968 turmoil and a dying Portuguese grandfather watching the dictator speaks on the television. Epic creates moments of intimacy while also connecting us to the bigger picture.

As we have become fascinated with ideas of Epic, a desire has developed to create something that could play with its multiplicity of meanings.

Credits
a Foster & Déchery production
Devised and performed by Chloé Déchery, Lucy Foster, Pedro Ines and Ed Rapley
Dramaturges and outside eyes: Sharon Smith (Gob Squad) and Mike Tweddle (BE Festival)
Music: Bob Karper (Lone Twin Theatre)
Additional music: Nick Gill
Video design: Ian William Galloway (Mesmer)
Film: Chris Eley
Choreography: Pia Nordin
Lighting design: Martin Langthorne
Graphic design: The Letter O / Olivia Jourde
Photography: Manuel Vason<
Produced: David Luff

The production, funded by the ACE, is a commission by the Corn Exchange Newbury and toured to 12 venues in England in Spring 2011.

Epic as a style.

Epic as a homage to Brecht and his revolutionary theatre.

Epic as the desire to embrace issues that exist beyond our everyday lives.

Epic as evoking wars, massacres and blood-spilling. 

Epic as the feeling we get when we look back at family history; lifetimes that span a century and cross the globe

Epic as an impossible aspiration to relate to everyone all at once. 

Epic as a means of time travel; an attempt to defy the passing of time, to hold each moment of history as equal. 

Epic as an ironic reference or nod to a theatre of spectacle and scale from four bodies on an empty stage. 

Looking at intergenerational dialogue, and the roles of memory and transmission from a playful and witty perspective, Epic plays out a series of stripped back yet intricate scenes, drawing on the ‘epic’ style of performing pioneered by Bertolt Brecht. These scenes are interwoven with stories from the performer’s family histories (including a Portuguese grandmother juggling with hot coal out in the fields, a torpedoed WW2 boat, taking to the streets of Paris in May 68 or a run-in with Arthur Scargill), choreographies that evoke particular decades, video interviews, and grand battle re-enactments.The performance focuses also on the quality of the relationships between the performers and how all four differ in their view of the century’s events, often based on where we grew up. Each has an individual relationship to history, which determines how our journey through the show unfolds. The history of the four performers, and of the show itself, becomes folded into the wider looking back. Epic leads its audience on a mock-grandiose journey, in turn comical, endearing and thought-provoking.