Echo & Narcissus

 
 

Inspired by the often-revised myth of Echo & Narcissus, Hook & Eye Theater is building a digitally enhanced sonic and theatrical re-telling of the doomed amorous duo. Told through both pre-recorded and live sonic scenes, live action theatrical song, dance, and scene work, the piece 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, Nik, 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 had a voice and she’s trying to find one. She is an intense and driven 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 as it intersects with his PTSD.  His walls are up but his interior life is beginning to spill over the top.

We will use the extant 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 will be 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 real delivery of a ballad. With the help of composer and sound artist Christopher Ross-Ewart and ideally a live Iranian musician -- we will build a layer of digital storytelling without leaving the realm of live performance, we begin to consider what history records of us -- for us. Our recorded lives -- digitized and stored endlessly -- as legacy.