Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ – immersive multi-media performance
30th September-1st October, 3 performances, Torriano Meeting House NW5 2RX
Performance time: approx 60 minutes
The World Premier of a unique, multi-media, immersive performance bringing to life Joseph Conrad’s classic novella of the same name.
Created by a joint UK-Congolese-Polish team of performance makers, the event will feature actors and musicians from England, Poland, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, interacting with video, soundscapes, puppet theatre, and Orson Welles’ 1938 radio version of the story to take the audience on a terrifying journey into Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
The creative team began working on the project in 2017 in collaboration with The World Performance course at E15 Acting School in Southend, creating a large-scale site-specific performance involving forty-plus undergraduate students, a small number of post-graduate students, and the core professional team at Tilbury Docks.
Different approaches to telling the story of the book were explored. They looked at ways to reflect the later history of the Congo in performance. They researched the music and dance of the period – both African and European. They worked closely with the Tilbury on Thames Trust and The Thames Festival to create a one-off research performance at Tilbury Docks. Further activities were put on hold by the pandemic.
The story of Conrad’s novel is told on a boat caught between tides on the river Thames, but is set on the Congo River and draws parallels between the two.
From Press Release:
“We have now revisited the project for a production in 2023 with a small creative team from the UK, DRC and Poland. This performance tells the Conrad story with actors, musicians, and puppets, and with radio recordings. The performance also draws parallels with the liberation struggle of the Congolese people and their celebration of independence in June 1960.”
Cast & Production Team:
Joseph Conrad: Eddie Tulasiewicz
Marlow: Fred Yamusangie
The Woman: Katarzyna Rudzka
Musicians: Jeannot Bel & Tyrone Landau
Soundscape: Dominic Delargy
Director: Luke Dixon, The Testing Ground
About the Creative Team:
❖ Fred Yamusangie – concept and dramaturgy. Fred is a Congolese poet and writer. He studied ‘Heart of Darkness’ for his master’s and has visited the locations of the novel on the Congo River. He currently divides his time between England and the DRC.
❖ Luke Dixon – concept and direction. Luke is a director, teacher and academic. He is internationally known for his largely site-specific Shakespeare productions, often with his own company, Theatre Nomad,
which he founded in 1993. As a teacher he has run workshops and training programmes in Asia, Africa, America and throughout Europe and the UK.
(Luke and Fred met while working with Congolese refugees at Soho Theatre)
❖ Jeannot Bel – music. Jeannot is a Congolese rumba and Soukous guitarist. He tours the world with Kanda Bongo Man and has recorded with all the great Congolese musicians including Debaba, Lazare.
❖ Eddie Tulasiewicz and Katarzyna Rudzka are London based Polish actors
Event Webpage: The Testing Ground – Heart of Darkness (google.com)