Echo & Narcissus
In Echo and Narcissus, Hook and Eye Theater subverts and examines dominant notions about the way people grapple with identity, the psychic effects of war, the marginalization of women, immigrants and minorities, loss, falling in and out of love, self promotion, and — perhaps most basically — the way in which we edit history and obscure truth in the age of digital and social media. Hook and Eye doubles down on it's commitment to risk, an inherent component of our artistic DNA, in this devised, self-scripted piece.
The piece — currently in development — is part kitchen-table drama and part space-age podcast. With minimal sets, a robust audio world, and text that slides back and forth from spaceship to earth, between truth and fiction, in Farsi and English, the myth we’re making will function as a veiled cultural mirror that shimmers with humor, and startles with distinctly familiar human moments.
Set in 2006 in New Hampshire our Narcissus is an Iranian-American, emotionally wounded ex-soldier. Back from deployment to Afghanistan, small-town civilian life is a hard pill for Nik to swallow. . . Enter Chloe, our Echo. She’s never felt she had a voice and she’s trying to find one. She is an intense and driven young documentary filmmaker whose family money and status have always embarrassed her. Nik quickly becomes the object of her current obsession and at first he seems to revel in her attentions. But as Chole begins to probe Nik for her documentary we begin to see the darker side of his narcissism and it’s possible roots in his wartime experience and his PTSD. His walls are up but his interior life is beginning to spill over the top.
We will use the classic myth’s loose framework to illuminate what we can about our shared culture’s past, present, and imagined future. Reflections from Persian culture glint off the lakes of New Hampshire. No prancing nymphs, but impassioned dance. No hunter, but plenty of seeking. We build an Echo & Narcissus for right here, right now.
True to our mission, we are mining the stories and imaginations of our performers as we build, what results is a group-written piece, an ensemble-devised show guided by the director, but with roots in the creativity and personal experience of each member of the group.
Taking inspiration from the folkloric gōsān tradition of Iranian musical narrative, E&N inspires a study of what we are and what we leave behind -- the blinking whirring residue of a digital life, or the throaty paean of a life lived. With the help of composer and sound artist Christopher Ross-Ewart and a live Iranian musician, we will build a layer of digital storytelling without leaving the realm of live performance. In E&N, we begin to consider what history records of us -- for us. Our recorded lives -- digitized and stored endlessly -- as legacy.