Conversations with the Gods about their Deaths and Other Matters
James McCaughey conjures up gods, Greek, Christian, Hindu,
Indigenous and others.
The show is comedy, enquiry, epic story-telling, part-pilgrimage, part-pisstake. Gods who have never spoken to each other enter as embodiments of the world’s comedy and tragedy. The Hero, the Diva, the Has-Been, the Saviour – argue for their lives in their one last chance.
James challenges these invisible presences about their mortality, offers them a toast, invites them to a seminar about progress (even though it entails their own demise) and counsels them to get over fears that they may be losing their identity.
He spars with the gods about transience, vulnerability, change and their presence in a world no longer their own.
Over five conversations an intimacy gradually builds. The gods, present and invisible, dangerous and entertaining, enter the performance space for a few minutes and leave traces of their existence.
THE FIRST EVENING
The Gods Assist in an Enquiry
The gods assist in an enquiry into their failures and desertions; their collaboration, or otherwise, with the forces of darkness. They are asked to clarify whether we live in a tragic or comic world which may be heading toward its own extinction, with or without them. (Duration; 30 minutes)
To the Gods, a Toast
The gods reassemble; they are offered a toast; which is a challenge since, as so often, the person toasted may be far from perfect; but the toast goes on, through the battle with the demon, Hiranyaksha, the Crusades, and the Trojan War; the gods are met in the darkness and fracturedness of things, caught up in a reality which we share; and still, somehow, worth a toast. (Duration: 30 minutes)
THE SECOND EVENING
The Gods attend a Seminar on the Topic of Progress
Despite being declared dead, Vishnu, Bunjil, Diana of the Ephesians and the God of the Jebusites (first god of Jerusalem) return to take part in a seminar. (They are joined later by Jesus.) They have all been washed aside by the march of progress but are invited to consider whether progress might all the same be a good thing. (Duration: 25 minutes)
The Gods attend a Counselling Session concerning Loss of Identity
The gods are upset that they have been enrolled into the Oneness, losing their names and homes in particular places. Like a good counsellor James attempts to get them to see what there is to gain from all this. He fails; the gods depart and the space is left full of the resonance of their names, localities and languages. (Duration; 15 minutes)
5 minute pause
The God at the Door
Interweaves the stories of two messengers – Hermes in the last book of The Iliad and a man who unexpectedly came to James’ door. (Duration: 15 minutes).
The performances were made possible by the collaboration with Julianne O’Brien and Sarah Cathcart. They were produced by Gabrielle Baker. Chairs by Damien Wright.