Stevie Prickett, lecturer in dance and physical theatre at the Institute of the Arts recently celebrated the North American premiere of his latest collaborative performance project 'Reassembled Slightly Askew', as it enjoyed a five-day residency at the Summerworks performance festival in Toronto. The performance, described as “a quietly devastating example of uncategorisable art at its best” by Time Out London, is an autobiographical, audio-based artwork about the writer and producer Shannon Yee's experience of falling critically ill with a rare brain infection and her journey of rehabilitation with an acquired brain injury.
A ground-breaking collaboration witnessing theatre and medicine working closely together, Reassembled Slightly Askew was created over a five-year period of research and development with an innovative creative team. In addition to Stevie and Shannon, the creative team included sound designer Paul Stapleton (Queen's University Belfast), director Anna Newell and dramaturg Hanna Slattne. The artistic team also collaborated closely with Shannon's own medical team including Mr Roy Connell, consultant neurosurgeon and the nurses and physiotherapists.
Reassembled was created using binaural microphone technology to create a three-dimensional audio experience: listeners feel they are inside Shannon’s head, viscerally experiencing her descent into coma, brain surgeries, early days in the hospital, and re-integration into the world with a hidden disability. Stevie's challenging role as experienced choreographer, director and movement specialist was to explore approaches to choreographing and manipulating sound to enable an immersive experience, a new kind of storytelling, never done before about this topic, placing the listener safely in the first-person perspective to increase empathy and understanding.
In addition to its numerous theatrical residencies, Reassembled has also been showcased at a number of science and medicine conferences and festivals throughout the UK and is being used as an educational tool for junior doctors, nurses, medical students, physiotherapists and allied healthcare professionals.
Following its run in Toronto, Reassembled moves to Mount Sinai Teaching Hospital in New York in September before heading to Calgary and Vancouver in January 2018 as well as continuing to tour the UK and further afield.
Images (top): Left, Hanna Slattne, dramaturg on the project, with Stevie Prickett; (below): Scene from Reassembled Slightly Askew