The Body Ophelia explores the uncharted territory of one of Shakepeare's most enigmatic characters, charting the psyche and explorations of Ophelia off the stage; the time and space between her silence and her madness.

The piece also explores the case studies of Sigmund Freud and Joseph Breuer from their landmark 'Cases in Hysteria', published in 1893 and seen as crucial in the charting of the subconscious in the 20th century.

The Body Ophelia attempts to respond to Luce Iriguary, Helene Cixcious, Monique Wittig and Melanie Klein's call for the exploration of the female psyche as a means of bringing subjectivity to the Patriarchy. Ophelia can write her own body, and explore nature, erotica and body memory as powerful healing forces. Finally the piece explores contemporary body/mind displacement, including anorexia and bulimia, especially where it related to Lady Diana Spencer, and the role the popular media played in this depiction.

This script is based on a new media installation performance incorporating sound, video and surveillance monitors. This performance explored notions of "performing" the hysteric, as well as the absent body of Ophelia, issues of surveillance and the notion of an empty space - signifying Ophelia - which has been projected onto and filled with a number of performative and theoretical notions (including romanticism, grunge, sexuality and abuse narratives). This informed elements of the video work. The piece had distinct performance spaces including Ophelia's chamber, the Freud couch and lecture theatre, surveillance spaces, daytime TV gossip space, drowning/bath space and a academic/critical A/V space.

The play creates three distinct Ophelias, as well as multiple parts that can be played by these three performers or a larger cast. The multi-voice form is flexible and diverse, allowing directors and performers to explore a range of styles and staging options, from sound/video/surveillance to music, puppetry, comedy and realism.

  • installation-based performance
  • 75
  • 3 total
  • 3 female identifying
  • adolescence
  • 16 to 18, 18+
  • young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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