Performed by Olwen Fouéré
Directed by Selina Cartmell
Music by Roger Doyle
Design by Paul Keogan
Here Lies is a live installation by Operating Theatre retracing Antonin Artaud's journey through Ireland in 1937.
Inspired by an apocalyptic vision, the French actor/writer Antonin Artaud arrived in Cobh, Co. Cork, carrying a cane which he believed to be the staff of Saint Patrick. His journey brought him to the Aran Islands and to Galway, where he stayed in the Imperial Hotel without the means to pay his bill. Some days later Artaud was arrested in Dublin and after ten days in a holding cell in Store street gárda station he was deported back to France on the SS Washington which was sailing through Cobh and on to Le Havre. While he was in his cabin, two maintenance men entered to fix something and, frightened, he attacked them. He was put into a straitjacket for the rest of the trip and deposited in the nearest mental asylum on arrival.
So began a nine-year period of incarceration in a number of mental asylums in France, during which Artaud underwent fifty seven electroshock treatments. A harrowingly changed man, he was moved to an open clinic near Paris in 1946. Antonin Artaud died in 1948; he was found sitting at the end of his bed holding his shoe.
The installation "Here Lies" (which takes its title from one of Artaud's texts) will be performed by Olwen Fouéré, one of Ireland's leading actresses, and Roger Doyle, Ireland's foremost composer of contemporary electronic music. Olwen has recently completed a residency with the company Théâtre du Radeau and this performance is presented as part of the Paris Beckett Festival, acknowledging the links between the writings of Antonin Artaud and those of Samuel Beckett.